Star Lake Light Rail Station Public Art
YEAR & TIMELINE
2019-2021 | 3 years
Shared Art Direction | Illustration | Environmental Graphics
Frit Printed Glass | Cut Metal
In 2024, the Star Lake light rail station will open in Kent, WA. Two public art pieces will welcome visitors. These are preliminary drawings and will continue to be refined and adapted.
Travelling by train can be a stressful, monotonous, or harried endeavor. Art should make for a more enjoyable ride and give the station an identity.
The two works created for Star Lake station aim to make the experience of getting from point A to point B a little brighter. Using the prompt “The Light at the Edge of the Forest,” we focused on work that responds to the natural and artificial light at the station. The imagery is based on edible plants, the ingredients that go into the dishes that bring us together to share, celebrate, and connect. This artwork creates an identity for the station that connects it to the location and reminds users where they are on their journey.
This station services the city of Kent with a focus on commuters as well as residents and visitors of all ages who use Link Light Rail. Some audience experiences might be commuting, in a rush, waiting, visiting the station regularly, or entering the station for the first time. The design has many points of engagement at different distances so visitors can explore new aspects of the piece with each ride.
Kent has a rich agricultural history; in the early 19th century, Kent invested heavily in hops due to a blight in Europe that made the crop lucrative. The city took its name from England’s hops capital: Kent. In the 1920s and ‘30s, Kent was known as the Lettuce Capital of the World and drew crowds to the annual Lettuce Festival.
We met with Lee Bess, a Seattle-based naturalist who guided us towards the local edible and medicinal plants used by several indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest including the local Skope-ahmish, Smalh-kamish, and St-kah-mish peoples of the White River Valley.
Establishing an interest in edible plants, we met with Tahmina Martelly from Hillside Paradise Parking Plots, a community garden created for refugees and immigrants to grow food and connect with the local land. Communities are centered around food: cooking, gathering, sharing, and celebrating. We wanted everyone who visits the station to feel connected to the installation through familiar ingredients that make them feel welcome.
The windscreen design is made from ceramic frit printed glass that will cast a stained glass-like glow on the station platform. This printing method has excellent longevity so it won’t need to be replaced for many decades. In order to compensate for any banding from the printing we added a paper texture to eliminate any noticeable inconsistencies.
Full station view
A tunnel with regulation lighting connects both sides of the station. We added a light installation on the ceiling and one wall to add radiance and delight on dark Northwest days. The imagery is pulled from the windscreen design to create a unified voice between the two pieces. The installation is laser cut with polycarbonate backing to protect the lighting and riders.
Ceiling and wall mockup
This summer we are adapting our design to fit with architectural changes at the station and to meet safety concerns. We are adding more plants to the library now that we have design approval.
Thank you to the whole Sound Transit team who supporter our vision, especially Ashley Long who guided us through this whole process.