A place of ideal perfection
Grand Rapids, MI
Architect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Artist: Jaume Plensa
Client: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Category: Special Projects
Project Type: Stone Engineering
+ Blanc Absolut Marble
2022 – NSI Grande Pinnacle Award
2022 – NSI Pinnacle Award of Excellence
The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids unveils a new welcome center–Designed by Todd William Billie Tsien Architects. It features the unique, diverse and meditative ethnic faces of different women named—Marianna, Julia, Laura, and Wilsis—representing women from around the world, presented in Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa’s signature style, such that no single piece is identical to the next.
Efforts required early engagement at the project’s most critical time. PICCO’s considerations for material extraction and handling, cubic geometry studies, stone engineering, installation and fabrication 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, each of the four expansive floor-to-ceiling walls are 20 x 90 ft and clad as sculptural reliefs in Blanc Absolute Marble.
PICCO’s work required material sourcing support, testing, mock-up reviews, anchoring system design and engineering, installation guidance, and comprehensive shop drawings with tickets. A robust but simple steel frame system was designed for primary lateral support. Disc-shaped lateral connections proved efficient and time-saving.
The essence of this sculpture will endure as a testament to Women & Humanity and Art & Architecture for generations to enjoy.