Arizona artist Teresa Villegas brought
new life to the floor of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 3
Baggage Claim. The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture’s Public Art Program
partnered with the Aviation Department in commissioning Villegas to design a
unique terrazzo floor as part of the Terminal 3 renovations.
The artist worked closely with Aviation’s
design team, adjusting her design to accommodate expected changes in the layout
of the baggage area. Using a trip to Havasu Falls as her inspiration, Villegas
also worked closely with local fabricator Advance Terrazzo to create a soothing
experience in an ordinarily hectic site. The result is a design that is
beautiful, site specific, and durable.
Form, function and long-term cost savings
were this project’s priorities. The terminal three baggage claim has thousands
of visitors each year, causing extensive wear to the carpet that once covered
the area. To keep up with the wear and tear, Aviation replaced the carpet every
two to three years. The new terrazzo floor eliminates that need and expense.
Known for durability and easy maintenance the terrazzo will last for decades.
The artist, who lives in Phoenix,
designed the floor to complement the experience of descending through the
canyon walls of the escalator to the baggage claim. She selected colors to echo
the desert’s rich Palo Verde greens, periwinkle blue sky, and cooling desert
rains. The warm brown grays of the earth
in the desert cactus and flower designs match the existing concrete walls of
the airport. The cast aluminum designs
of the flying insects, desert plants, thorns, and seeds reflect the chrome
architectural details and baggage carrousels.