Origami Tessellation, Mercer Corridor–Seattle, WA, Commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 2012, LMN, HBB Landscape Architects, Fabrication Specialties.

A 28’ tall illuminated tessellated column referencing science, art and nature, in a landscaped median, marking the entry to Seattle from Interstate 5. Stainless steel, lighting, plant material.

The sculpture was inspired by the scientific research being conducted in South Lake Union that is grounded in analysis of cells and sub-cellular behavior. Drawing an analogy to the replication of DNA, it alludes to molecular biology and biotechnology. At the same time, it references fractal forms found in nature and connects the ancient art of paper folding, tile patterns and engineering. It is most dramatic at night as light spills through penetrations that line the edges of each plane and the exterior lighting illuminates the form. Ellen collaborated with Mark Hinshaw of LMN on other streetscape elements including custom LED lighted finials on the street lamps and with Dean Koontz of HBB on in-ground programmable LED glass pavers.

South Lake Union, steeped in history, has experienced a rebirth as a biotechnology and high tech center in the Pacific Northwest. The neighborhood is being transformed from light industrial to a burgeoning hub of activity. The redeveloped Mercer Corridor traverses the area and connects it with the Seattle Center, the location of the 1962 World’s Fair and the City’s contemporary cultural heart. The sculpture has become known as the landmark of the area anchoring its entry.