We travelled to Las Vegas to attend the annual TISE tradeshow–both to deliver inspiring presentations on stone–and to get inspired by what’s trending in our industry for 2023. Although we received the great news that Utopia won the NSI Pinnacle Award of Excellence (Interior Commercial category), we were pleasantly surprised to learn our project was bestowed the most coveted award of the evening... the best of the best! Utopia–Fredrick Meijer Gardens by Jaume Plensa took home the Grande Pinnacle Award!
Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to a new experience. ‘Utopia’ features the unique and diverse faces of women from around the world in Jaume Plensa’s signature style. The floor-to-ceiling walls are made from Blanc Absolute Marble. Grounded and permanent, no single piece is identical to the next.
Our efforts required early engagement at the project’s most critical time. Our considerations for material extraction and handling, cubic geometry studies, stone engineering, installation, fabrication, and proved intrinsic to meeting the delicate project requirements and high standards.
The sculpture’s design required precision engineering and innovation with every solution. With stone panels up to 4,200 kgs and thicknesses exceeding 700 mm, a robust but simple steel frame system was designed for primary lateral support. Our disc-shaped lateral connections proved efficient and time saving.
The essence of Utopia will endure as a testament to Women & Humanity and Art & Architecture for generations to enjoy.
Artist: Jaume Plensa
Client: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Engineers: PICCO Engineering
Stone Installer: Precision Stone Inc.
Stone Supplier: R K Marble Group