When development firm Vulcan Real Estate asked world-renowned artist Spencer Finch to design an architectural canopy to connect the two new office buildings at the center of the Amazon headquarters campus expansion in Seattle, WA, his first course of action was a walk in the woods.
Seeing the shapes formed by the overlapping leaves above and the different patterns of light filtering through the trees was all the inspiration Finch needed to achieve Vulcan’s objectives of adding a creative, artistic element to the classic canopy design and reflecting the local culture, while also providing an open, welcoming feeling in an urban setting.
Such was born Finch’s “There Is Another Sky.” Situated four stories above an outdoor plaza, the decorative canopy features an abstract circular design pattern imprinted on technographic interlayer film by Goldray Glass and then laminated between two lites of Starphire® glass by Vitro Architectural Glass. This process ensured the correct depth and vibrancy of color, while making the glass safe for use in overhead installations.
Goldray’s Technographic Interlayer process uses a polyester film that can be printed with high-resolution images, and can achieve a broad range of color profiles. The result is a versatile decorative glass product that can accommodate a wide range of images and designs for both interior and exterior applications.
Finch developed the pattern with five hues and five opacities to control and vary the amount of light that filters through. To achieve the effect the artist was seeking, a finished segment of the canopy was placed over the plaza with a crane before final installation.
The canopy is one of the hallmarks of a 400,000 square foot expansion of the Amazon headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. The redevelopment project, designed by ZGF Architects to create a modern, flexible workplace, also features an overhead bridge, restaurants, retail space, and a public area with a flowing stream, heated outdoor seating, and lush landscaping.
The patterns and colors within the canopy shift the light to create a space for reflection and call attention to the places people inhabit, making them feel as if they’re “walking beneath a forest canopy,” says Finch.