Client: Kirkland and Ellis
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Completion date: 2010
Skidmore & Owings
While the project involved the selection and curation of artwork on all 35 floors of the over 600,000 sq. ft. of office space, the focus of the project and the expenditure was on the two conference center floors where attorneys hold their daily meetings and gatherings with their clients. The terrace overlooking the Chicago River is a special feature of the firm and involved the placement of outdoor sculptures and seating.
The majority of the project consisted of site-specific commissioned artwork. The artists selected for the commissions were a combination of emerging artists, mid-career artists and established artists primarily from Chicago who represented a diverse group of talent working in a range of media. The theme for the artwork on 6th floor conference room, where the terrace is located, and where exists 14' ceilings, was to connect the interior space with the location of the building and its surroundings. Hence Chicago architecture, street scenes, and its location on the Chicago River all related to the content of the work -both literally and metaphorically. Elements of water, air, architectural structures, and Chicago landmarks figure throughout the work. The 7th floor theme related more to the various enterprises of the corporate law firm as well as an expression of ideas pertaining to the firms' vision - hence notions of strategy, guidance, leadership, success and synchronicity figured prominently in the work, however poetically and symbolically, rather than figuratively.
As the art consultant, I presented to the head of the project, who was one of the lawyers of the firm, a selection of artists who I thought would be fitting for consideration to do commissions. Once approved, the artists were asked to create proposals for their individual commissions. Many of them produced detailed drawings and maquettes. Once the proposals were approved for production, we determined their placement and provided details to the artists on the ultimate scale of each work. Most of the artwork took at least one full year to complete, and in some cases more than two years.