2 Roy St.
Seattle, WA 98109
When the little park designed by Murase Associates opened at the corner of Queen Anne and Roy, I was not impressed. The unloved, gravel-covered site had previously been scraped of its gas station (with pollution still beneath) and sat on a highly trafficked and confusing intersection (yes, people, you can turn left onto a one-way street when the light is red). It mainly attracted street drunks clutching 40-ouncers. Yet the Uptown Alliance raised about half the $1.1 million budget for a makeover, with a lead gift of $225,000 from Raj and Akhil Shah of nearby fashion maven Shah Safari; the city supplied the balance. Suddenly the place was clean, presentable, and open with a ribbon-cutting appearance by Mayor Greg Nickels. For months, however, it seemed like nobody noticed or used the place. Wood planking, gravel, and low concrete benches edged in stainless steel do not invite kids or families to come and play. There is no fencing or barrier to keep children in (or cars out); but admittedly, there are hardly any kids in the condo cluster we call the LQA. The corner is mainly traversed by singletons heading to Chopstix or Pesos who, along with this passing grocery shopper, were suddenly struck by the multicolored lighting that recently appeared in the park. Designed by local artist Iole Alessandrini in conjunction with Murase, the tiny, programmable LEDs are still in their beta testing period. Part of the original park scheme, the tardy diodes now dramatically transform the two concrete slab walls that bound the parks north and west aspects. They become screens for the wavering, vertical, borealis-like glow. For canoodling couples parked on the darkened benches, the backdrop is now like a dispersed spectrum display: light pulled apart into its constituent parts. If more people would actually stop and use the place, it could become Seattles best after-hours park. BRIAN MILLER
So I feel that this must be said, so I took the time to fill out useless account information and solicit spam in order to inform you, dear reader.... First I am a lighting designer and so I am extremely biased. That being said this is the BEST use of LED lighting in a public space in the entire city... until something cooler comes along. It's a very simple design but has some very cool and unique programing. I'm glad the artists were allowed to play with the LED lighting instead of submitting us all to some corporate image of pretty (in their company colors) or some obscene abomination to LED lighting. So many "public art" installations are using LED's these days but it seems that there are only two types. 1. Corporate backed that are under the strict guiding hand of the owners who want only to see very basic things or their company colors represented. 2. Visual artists who have no clue about lighting attempting to incorporate LED illumination into their art with out having a clue as to what they are trying to do. Here's a hint fellow artists, you won't find me trying to cast large bronze sculptures anytime soon. If you don't really have a plan on how you're using LED's please stop trying to incorporate them. So that being said BRAVO! For this fantastically conceived and brilliant park. The use of color in the past has been truly amazing. I only say in the past as I've seen what this installation was originally programmed to do. Folks the technology here is broken and in need of repair. In the past this install was alive with color and beauty but due to broken sections attributed to low quality LED product the colors have become sadly static. A toast to what this park once was (it's still pretty cool). Somebody please fix this... it truly is the best LED installation in the city.
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