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WSU art featured in new Spokane sports complex

Wood structures with LED lights hang from the ceiling as part of an art installation.

A group of large wood structures suspended above the lobby of Spokane’s new sport complex building are the work of Washington State University Professor Taiji Miyasaka and Seattle artist and engineer Clayton Binkley.

The art installation named Chromasphere is featured in the Podium, a 135,000 square-foot facility located on a bluff overlooking the Spokane River. The facility opened this fall and is set to host regional and national sporting events, including the upcoming USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in February. 

Chromasphere is inspired by the diverse geology and nature surrounding Spokane, said Miyasaka. The abstract geometrical pieces are made of salvaged Western cedar.  Eleven pod-like forms were created by stacking hundreds of hexagonal cedar frames of varying sizes. On the inside, the pods are painted different colors and are illuminated with LED lights in the evening. The white light from the LEDs reflects off the painted surfaces to produce a glowing colored light effect. 

 “The pods’ placement and angles were carefully determined based on visitors’ anticipated views from outside the space,” Binkley said. “The colored ambient light in the pods gives a vibrant atmospheric accent to the lobby space.”

During the daytime, visitors see the massive structures overhead. As the sun sets, the colored light emanating from the structures fills the space in the lobby and provides a softer texture to the artwork.

“Chromasphere is intended as a multi-resolution installation within the Podium providing a more intimate experience for athletes and visitors of the building while also supporting the building’s presence in the urban context,” said Miyasaka.  “We used the shape, texture and color of the forms to create an abstract interior skyscape that stands in contrast to the vastness and intentional neutrality of the lobby space.”

Exterior view of the Spokane sports complex at night.

The WSU Voiland College of Engineering Shops, including manager Miles Pepper, also contributed to the construction of the pieces.

The artwork was commissioned by the Spokane Public Facilities District, which owns and operates the Podium facility. Spokane Arts oversaw the artist selection and managed and administered the project.

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