Home PageArchivesVolume no. 4Issue 3Visual Arts: Janet Echelman

Wind, Water, and Light

Janet Echelman



Janet Echelman explores the cutting edge of sculpture, public art, and urban transformation. With the design team at Studio Echelman, she focuses on the development and creation of large-scale artworks that integrate form and function in a diverse array of city environments.

Echelman’s monumental, fluidly moving sculptures are the result of collaborative efforts with an international team of award-winning aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators. Experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.

She strives to create dynamic, accessible art environments with both permanent and temporary projects that push boundaries. Deriving inspiration from both traditional craft and modern technology, Echelman uses unlikely materials from knotted fishing nets to atomized mist. The result is living, breathing sculpture that responds to the forces of nature—wind, water, and light.

Echelman states: “My goal is to create work with which residents can form a relationship, and which can embody local identity.” By paying close attention to local materials and working methods, each project becomes intimately tied to its environment, strengthening neighborhood connections and promoting a distinctive civic character.

Chris Michel TED Photo 4_cr2_2MBRecipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Janet Echelman was named Architectural Digest’s 2012 Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.” Her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 33 languages and is estimated to have been viewed by more than a million people worldwide.

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