Parking garages are often the most uninspiring structures in an urban landscape. Not so for the Novel Stonewall Station in Charlotte, North Carolina, host to the state’s largest public artwork. Created by Marc Fornes/TheVeryMany, Wanderwall’s psychedelic swirls of blue and green instantly catch the eye, even amidst the rapidly expanding, ultramodern downtown skyline.
The facade was assembled on-site from nearly 6,000 individual aluminum pieces—each one painted a different shade of a nine-color gradient—creating a continuous pattern that spans nearly 300 feet across the south and east elevations without gaps or seams. There’s no substructure either, since the super-thin, 1/8-inch installation hangs like a gently pleated curtain on the eight-story building. It’s what Fornes calls “a structural nappe,” a geological term describing a sheet of rock draped like cloth over a fault.
The hypnotic work has different effects when viewed from different angles and distances. Seen from a passing car on adjoining highway I-277, the pattern is kinetic, a gleaming beacon in the sun; viewed from a neighboring sidewalk, the pleats become more noticeable, the individual motifs that make up the pattern more pronounced. And inside the garage, sunlight casts dynamic shadows as it filters through the skin. “It’s abstract continuity,” Fornes says. Whatever it is, it’s certainly fun.