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Tabletops: Mirage

Michael Steeber
Michael Steeber
Mirage
The Cupertino Fine Arts Commission met on May 23rd to consider the future of Mirage, a public art installation planned for Apple Park Visitor Center.
Artist Katie Paterson and studio Zeller & Moye first announced Mirage last June. The Fine Arts Commission meeting packet offers many new details about what Apple plans to build this year.
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Mirage is a glass sculpture designed to wind through the olive tree grove adjacent to Apple Park Visitor Center. The grove borders Tantau Avenue and is the first space many visitors experience when they arrive at Apple Park.
Mirage will highlight California’s astonishing geological history. Sand will be collected from the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert, the Great Basin Desert, and from across the world’s fifty-eight deserts. Mirage will be cast in whole single glass cylinders by expert glass makers, with guidance from material scientists. We will create unique recipes of glass combining each desert composition. Sand will be acquired ethically and sustainably through global collaboration with institutes such as the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia and the The Sonoran Desert Network in Arizona. Innovative methods of working with glass at this scale will be used.
—Statement of Design Intent
Mirage will be a tactile, sensory experience. Visitors can wander through the sculpture on granite pathways and touch the artwork. At night, lamps placed below each cylinder will illuminate the glass and create a soft glow.
By design, the glass cylinders are manufactured to allow for bubbles, variation in color, and other unique attributes. The glass cylinders are minimally reflective and transparent, with the grass, trees, and sky that are seen through the glass appearing as blurry and distorted colored shapes. In addition, the arrangement of these cylinders in rows creates a scalloped surface, rather than a flat, smooth surface conducive to high reflectance or transparency.
—Biological Review by Environmental Science Associates
Katie Paterson is a remarkable artist creating work that is both exhaustively detailed and emotionally resonant. I can’t wait to see Mirage become a reality.
The Fine Arts Commission hasn’t finalized its meeting minutes, but the Staff Report recommended project approval. The permit becomes effective fourteen days after the hearing.
Featured image
Apple Rosenthaler Straße
Photo via Ilya Ivanov on Instagram.
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Michael Steeber
Michael Steeber @michaelsteeber

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