I don't often throw around the word spectacular, but it's the only way to describe what's going on at the base of the space needle as the new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit comes together for a May opening.
I was lucky enough to have a hard-hat tour last week led by landscape designer Richard Hartlage of AHBL; I'm writing a story about the gardens that'll run in Pacific Northwest magazine in early June.
A true confluence of creativity is exploding at the base of the Needle -it looks like the beginning of a rennaissance for the Seattle Center. From the sleekly modern, 40 foot high glass house and the nine-room gallery fitted into the shell of the old Fun Forest (designed by Seattle architect Owen Richards) to the gardens, I've never seen anything like it.
The galleries are roomy, the gift shop is lined with pale wooden walls and the banquet seating in the cafe is decked out in a print so stylish it could have been designed by Mondo of Project Runway fame.
The site is ringed in welcoming new plazas, promenades and plantings. The green roofs are planted to be seen from the Needle above, and there are green screens, groves of stewartia, mature elms and even dove trees....a 40 foot tall, modern glasshouse...it's going to be so beautiful...
Just picture this: lavender glass wands atop an ancient log salvaged from the woods. That's just one of the many intriguing visuals to come; all the Chihuly glass pieces have been made specifically for this exhibit.
Here are some construction site photos to give you an idea...stay tuned for the longer article in Pacific.
The blue disks are placeholders for art ...and in the background a Chihuly sun just being assembled atop a mound planted with....well, you're going to have to wait and see for yourselves...
The remodeled building and one of many groves of trees being planted for shade and scale..
Some of the mature trees going in, which will make the site feel finished the day it opens...and behind is the new glasshouse....