The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Unveils Janet Echelman’s Latest Work: “Impatient Optimist” in Seattle

/ Impatient Optimist. Image © Ema Peter

A new aerial sculpture by renowned artist Janet Echelman has been installed at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle. Entitled “Impatient Optimist,” the sculpture consists of a custom net structure suspended above the courtyard, resulting in an ethereal floating surface which seems to defy gravity. The award-winning artist’s piece hovers above the city as a symbol of connectivity and stands as a testament to the impact an individual can have on a broader scale.

Janet Echelman’s Largest Aerial Sculpture To Premiere in Vancouver

© Ema Peter / Studio Echelman

American Artist Janet Echelman is to premiere her latest, and largest, in Vancouver. Widely known for her artistic ability to reshape urban airspace, Echelman’s sophisticated mixture of ancient craft and modern technology has led to collaborations with aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators to “transform urban environments world wide with her net sculptures.” Using a light weight fibre to elevate her monumental “breathing” forms above the streets of urban centres, Echelman’s new sculpture will be of a size and scale never before attempted.

Janet Echelman Reshaping Urban Airspace World-Wide

Courtesy of Studio Echelman © Christina O. Haver

Inspired by the local materials and culture of Mahabalipuram, an Indian fishing village famous for sculpture, American Artist Janet Echelman stumbled upon a material that would change her art, and life, forever. One evening, while observing the fishermen’s nightly routine of bundling their nets, Echelman imagined a new type of sculpture – a volumetric form that could be the scale of a large building but remain light enough to ripple in the wind, constantly reshaping the net and creating ever-changing patterns.

With a sophisticated mixture of ancient craft and modern technology, Echelman collaborates with a range of professionals including aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators to transform urban environments world-wide with her net sculptures.

Continue after the break to view some of Echelman’s most famous projects.