Chihuly Garden and Glass Seattle is an exhibit at the Seattle Center exhibiting the work of renowned artist Dale Chihuly. It first opened in May of 2020 at the former location of the now defunct Fun Forest theme park. It consists of five glass walls that are vertical panels holding up a series of colored glass strips. Each panel is cut from a unique glass piece and mounted on a wooden frame. The blocks are then connected and affixed with thin metal ribbons to create the impression of a limitless number of glass blocks stretching out across the entire bottom of each panel.
Chihuly’s unique style comes from his work with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Chihuly designed a series of murals for the L.A. County Coroner’s Office, which includes one for the autopsy of Marilyn Monroe. He has also created several glass art pieces for the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. This final project is one of his most popular, as it includes an entire section of a slate brick wall mural painted in the same bold colors as the glass tiles used in his original artwork.
Chihuly states that the glass was carefully selected to duplicate the colors from the sky and the rain. This makes the pieces extremely luminous when seen from certain angles, such as a sun setting over the ocean. Chihuly states that he designed the piece with the sky as the background and rain falling down glass textured pieces onto this background.
An installation of Chihuly’s art can be very elaborate or very simple. An extremely popular piece is the “sky dome”, which consists of fifty separate pieces of glass cut in half and affixed with thin metal ribbons. Another popular piece is the Chihuly Glass Facade, which is installed over a translucent acrylic paint and consists of a series of glass cubes affixed in multiple colors to create a unique image. A final piece, entitled the Chihuly Reef, is made up of twenty-four fused glass cubes and is designed to look like a giant coral reef. Each piece is affixed with clear transparent glass and is designed to slowly disappear once fully installed.
Chihuly’s garden is not only filled with beautiful works of glass but is also filled with lush greens and flowers. A large portion of this garden features plants that grow in only one color, which allows them to contrast beautifully against the vibrant blue waters below. Many of the plants are native to nearby seas and oceans. Several of the floating plants feature tiny pumpkins growing between their bony shells.
The beauty of Chihuly’s garden doesn’t end with its aesthetic creation, however. According to him, it all comes down to the relationship between man and nature. He believes that man needs a place outside of himself to create. In Chihuly’s garden, you’ll find a very tangible creation awaiting you. And once you’ve experienced this, you may find yourself ready to create even more such installations in your own yard.