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‘Veneers’ brings color to international terminal divider
By Amy Schneider

Just because something is a functional part of a building doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. “Veneers,” a 950-foot-long barrier down the center of a corridor between Concourse E and the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, blends the practical and the aesthetic.

Amy Landesberg, who is both an artist and an architect, was well-suited to create the piece.

“The work sits in a border between art and architecture, because it is fully integrated into the building. It’s just as much architecture as it is art,” she said. “I’m very excited that people from all walks of life who have no interest in either of those fields in particular can just love the light and love the color or wonder about the imagery.”

“Veneers” is a series of glass panels, each of which weighs about 1,250 pounds, that depict colorful interpretations of rare wood grains. Landesberg researched and cross-referenced two lists of the world’s most endangered wood species: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list and the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) species database.

From these lists she selected the 29 most imperiled woods and borrowed samples of the wood grains, which she scanned and used as the basis for bright digital images that capture the essences of the patterns. In most cases, three or four glass panels will form one wood grain image, but one section features nine panels. Signage at each end of “Veneers” will explain the concept of the artwork, list the species represented and display the original wood grains.

When the international terminal opens in spring 2012, the large UV-bonded glass panels will separate passengers who have cleared customs and are en route to connecting U.S. flights in the domestic terminal from Atlanta-bound passengers who have landed at Concourse E and are going to the international terminal to collect baggage and clear customs. The groups of passengers will be able to see each other through the “Veneers” piece, which will be lit to flood the space and pedestrians with vibrant colors.

“A lot of people will be moving quickly, a lot of people will be on the moving sidewalk, and this glowing color will reach out to them, and they should have a sense of being coated or in contact with the atmosphere of the piece,” Landesberg said. “Anybody who wants to can slow down and look at it, but the sense of projected light will stand alone, independent of the particular imagery. So there should be a really dynamic experience of the piece, whether or not you’re interested in the wood grain in particular or the global story of the species.”

“Veneers” is being installed amid a flurry of construction activity at the international terminal. Each day, a truck delivers six large containers of the panels, which are wheeled to their location within the terminal, carefully lifted out of the metal containers (“coffins”) by a motorized hook and secured in place, one at a time. There are nearly 140 individual panels in all.

The Airport Art Program coordinated the incorporation of several large-scale art projects into the international terminal. For more information about the projects, go to www.atlanta-airport.com/internationalterminal/about/art.html.

David Vogt, Airport Art Program manager, and artist/architect Amy Landesberg prepare to tape an interview about the “Veneers” piece. Behind them is a depiction of the ramin (Gonystylus spp.) wood grain.

David Vogt, Airport Art Program manager, and artist/architect Amy Landesberg prepare to tape an interview about the “Veneers” piece. Behind them is a depiction of the ramin (Gonystylus spp.) wood grain.

© 2011 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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