Orlando International Airport Unveils 'Wellness Garden' Designed by Augustana Art Professor
In December, Scott Parsons '87, professor of art, left a lasting impact at the Orlando International Airport when one of four new terrazzo “welcome mats” he designed was unveiled. Located in the main terminal, the 28 feet by 32 feet piece of artwork is made of epoxy terrazzo and features approximately 24 different colors.
Parsons, who previously created artwork for airports, was selected from hundreds of artists around the country who submitted designs. He was one of four artists chosen to come to Florida to present a final proposal and familiarize themselves with the workspace.
“The opportunity was to propose a design for one, two, three, or all four floors," Parsons said. "It turned out that I was fortunate to get chosen for all four.”
Parsons' idea for four different designs was based on visually mapping the economy and culture of central Florida. Each design is a “garden” that emphasizes important aspects of the region: wellness, technology, space and fun.
Parsons began the construction process by redrawing his artwork using computer-aided design.
“You can’t spend major amounts of time producing construction documents if you don’t even know if it’s your piece that’s been chosen, so part of the process after the piece is picked is to produce construction documents,” he said. “I had to redraw the designs in a very precise, mathematical way.”
After the drawing phase, the design was put into a water jet machine to cut out the negative shapes, leaving thin strips for use in the floor. Finally, colors were poured into the site, giving it a distinct color pattern.
The project is ongoing, with the rest of the pieces set to be unveiled later this spring after construction is finished.
The Orlando International Airport is ranked the 13th busiest airport in the U.S., serving more than 44 million passengers each year.
In a recent press release, Frank Kruppenbacher, chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, stated, “Our art collection from ceiling to floor has been recognized locally and nationally. We have always said that this airport; is more than an airport, it is a reflection of the experiences of central Florida.”
Noah Wicks '21
Augustana Advancement Student Assistant