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Scottsdale Fire Station Includes Public Artworks

"Rug Runner” and “Wallpaper Tapestry” by Christin Lee are located in the newly opened Fire Station 603 in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fire Station Includes Public Artworks

The newly opened Fire Station 603 on Indian Bend Road features two original public artworks, "Rug Runner" and "Wallpaper Tapestry" by Tempe artist Christine Lee.

The two-part project was completed in early December and officially accessioned into the City of Scottsdale Permanent Art Collection on Dec. 9. "Rug Runner" is a custom terrazzo floor and "Wallpaper Tapestry" is a dichroic film window treatment.

"Christine took a thoughtful approach to the design, with the firefighters being the focus," said Tanya Galin, public art coordinator for Scottsdale Public Art, which commissioned the project on behalf of the city. "She immersed herself into the project and took in as much information as she could, from visiting the fire stations and training facilities to riding along in the fire truck."

The new fire station is the second in Scottsdale to receive an artist-designed terrazzo floor. However, "Rug Runner," at Fire Station 603, also extends outside of the building and features solar-charged luminescent chips that give off a soft glow after dark. Lee designed the custom terrazzo floor is conjunction with "Wallpaper Tapestry," which can be found adjacent to the indoor portion of the terrazzo flooring.

During her research, Lee said she learned that the first responders who will work out of Fire Station 603 are like the "Swiss Army knife of people," adapting to a variety of situations and interacting with the afflicted in both efficient and elegant ways.

"I thank the members of Fire Station 603 and all of our first responders for the hard work and compassion they give to the strangers they encounter every day," Lee said. "It was really eye opening to learn how their tools, equipment and protocol could protect the lives of others, as well as themselves, so I felt it was important to both symbolically and physically embed these elements into the artwork."

"Rug Runner" and "Wallpaper Tapestry" reference a repeating diamond pattern, which is also found on various protective gear and equipment used by firefighters. The interior portion of "Rug Runner" incorporates actual spanners and rings sliced from decommissioned firefighting couplings. As it extends outside the fire station, the terrazzo design switches to aluminum pieces shaped like the firefighting equipment.

Galin described Lee's use of actual firefighting equipment in the terrazzo design as "ingenious."

"You first notice this beautiful pattern, but then you move in closer and see that they are actual tools," Galin said. "She makes you stop and examine the artwork."

"Wallpaper Tapestry" has a similar effect. When viewed from a distance, a silhouette of nearby Camelback Mountain can be seen, but up close, the dichroic film design reveals hundreds of fire department shields composing the shape. Printed to emulate wallpaper, the dichroic film and vinyl overlay takes on different color values, ranging from the cool hues of water to the warm tones of a sunset, depending on the position of the viewer and the reflected light.

Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Freeburg said the Scottsdale Fire Department was interested in a public art installation that would invite the community to and into the new fire station.

"The public art created by Christine can be enjoyed as the visitor approaches the front door of the fire station, and the art then transitions through the front door into the fire station," Freeburg said. "This would allow the community an 'outside in' perspective to enjoy the public art and the fire station, funded through their tax dollars, in one visit."

Lee is a Senior Sustainability Scholar of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and an assistant professor in wood/sustainability at Arizona State University's School of Art. She has exhibited her work around the country in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Pittsburgh - among other locations - and locally at the ASU Art Museum in Tempe. She received a master of fine arts from San Diego State University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

To learn more about "Rug Runner" and "Wallpaper Tapestry," visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org/work/rug-runner-and-wallpaper-tapestry/.


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