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The Art of The Conscious Place

Written By: John M.

consciousplace-logoConscious Places are dynamic, living collaborations between their stakeholders and the spaces they exist in. Their tenants, amenities, and users all interact with the natural environment to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. One of the ways we concretely demonstrate that symbiosis is through public art that tells the story of the place, its people, and its history while acting as an amenity for visitors.

We approached Texas artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade with details of the Waterside site and a vision for its transformation into a Conscious Place. When Wade saw the renderings, he knew that the project and its natural amenities are the makings of something great, “The way it appears to me with the architectural concept—with the big oak at the top as it gradually spills down to the water, it’s going to be a gorgeous space.”

Waterside is situated on a stunning location nestled along the banks of the Trinity River, where no aspects of the site’s original use will be visible. In our initial review of the existing structures, we discovered a treasure trove of artifacts left behind from the original General Dynamics recreation center that first occupied the land. Of the artifacts and their future uses, Wade says, “We’ve got a series of pieces that, whether you’re coming up or going down [to the river], you’ll encounter these works that are re-envisioned sculptures built from the original artifacts we found there. They’re important pieces of history from what used to be there. It’s great that the project can be forward thinking enough to do that.” The pieces are a natural fit for Trademark’s first ground-up Conscious Place, and Wade is a natural fit for creating feature art installations from the incredible array of vintage amusement rides and playground equipment.

Wade says of his commission, “It’s great that there are guys like Terry out there who want to make it possible for me to do what I want to do. It takes a few visionaries who really want to be playful to let us make our ideas into reality.” Trademark believes in creating projects that convey the same ethos as Wade’s art—a whimsical reverence for the power of a special place, a built environment that embodies passion and fun, and a finished product that tells a story.

Bob Wade is no stranger to pieces of art with stories, but he’s never built so many installations for one space using only objects derived from its past. “I’m hoping by reconfiguring these things into sculptures, we will have that fun, upbeat energy for the whole site. A lot of contemporary public art reviews try to relate art to its site in terms of scale and the historic moments of that area. This is going to be one of the better examples of that kind of thing. This is going to be real clear—Trademark has saved these things that could’ve easily gotten tossed or sold off to collectors—and has recycled them in a way that can become a fun experience for the public whether they’re shopping, living, or just visiting. In this multipurpose environment, it’s going to be much more successful than something sitting on a street corner or in the middle of some sterile complex somewhere. It’s fun and there’s going to be a lot of life in the art and in the project.”

The Conscious Place is a community-oriented space that encourages engagement with the built and natural environment. It is far more than a place of commerce—it’s a place of community and meaning. Creating new installations with objects from the site’s past is a way to educate and inspire visitors while demonstrating Trademark’s commitment to art and the artisan.

As the artist, Wade, says, “That’s a great story,the old, fabulous place that General Dynamics had. They were pretty forward-thinking themselves. So we’re just updating it and bringing it back to life. So the story continues. That’s all. The story continues!”

We look forward to sharing the story with you.

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