Westlake Park, a stone park nestled in the middle of downtown Seattle, features several pieces of public art installed by artist Bob Maki and landscape artist Robert Hanna in the 1980s, collectively known as Westlake Star Axis/Seven Hills. Among them is a set of steps that serves as a speakers’ forum, a series of granite columns, and a walk-through fountain. In the coming days, the fountain is being augmented to add a light installation—part of an overhaul of lighting in Westlake Park.
In the Absence of Natural Light, designed by artist duo Lumina, will provide a different texture to pass through besides water: panes of different-colored lighting, designed to interact with the water when it’s flowing or stand alone during the months when the fountain is turned off.
Another lighting scheme surrounds the outside of the fountain, with lights in shifting colors activating the concrete walls.
“Light by itself can be sculptural,” said artist Etta Lilienthal, one of the founders of Lumina, in a statement. “With this work, the fountain becomes sculptural and the light is the medium to reveal the fountain.”
The project, implemented by Downtown Seattle Association, was funded with an Only in Seattle grant, and marks the first of what’s supposed to be a few projects that implement additional lighting in the park. Westlake Park is owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation, but Downtown Seattle Association took over operations for both it and Occidental Square in 2015.
In a statement, Downtown Seattle Association’s Jennifer Casillas said the lighting serves a dual purpose: It “will not only make the entire park more interesting at night, it will also create a more welcoming environment.”
The installation should be complete in time for this weekend on Friday, March 23, with additional programming coming on Monday.