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This month, the soon-to-be-completed luxury residential tower One Bennett Park in Chicago will become home to a major site-specific sculpture by Tomás Saraceno. Commissioned for the lobby, it marks the artist’s first permanent installation in a public space in Chicago.
Behind this major milestone is Andrea Hazen of Hazen Art Advisory. She was tapped by developer Related Midwest for the project after an earlier collaboration for OneEleven West Wacker Drive, which saw the placement of cutting-edge works by Diana Thater and Tauba Auerbach in a public-facing residential space. At One Bennett Park, Saraceno’s unique work will be complemented with pieces by Pae White and Nick Cave.
Whitewall caught with Hazen to hear more about her vision to create a contemporary art program that surpasses anything being done today in residential development.
WHITEWALL: How were you approached for the One Bennett Park project? Can you describe the property?
ANDREA HAZEN: Related Midwest selected me to be the Art Advisor at One Bennett Park because of the success we had together at OneEleven on Wacker Drive. We pushed the bounds for the type of work at that time being placed in residential developments in Chicago, placing works by renowned artists including Diana Thater and Tauba Auerbach. The response was phenomenal and the project ended up winning a Development of the Year award and achieving the highest price ever paid per square footage when it sold to new owners—the art being a large factor in the successes.
Related Midwest appreciates that we have the same goal of merging the intersections of art, design and public spaces at the top level. We both want the quality of the art to exceed anything being done in residential developments in Chicago.
It helps that not only do I have roots in Chicago, but I live between New York and Paris, giving me international reach with connections to artists and galleries worldwide.
One Bennett Park is a 70-story residential tower designed by Robert A.M. Stern in the Streeterville neighborhood, just west of Lake Shore Drive. The design is classically inspired with formal, stately interiors and grand public spaces.
WW: What sets this residential tower apart from other luxury residences in Chicago?
AH: Many deluxe residences have extraordinary amenities, but One Bennett Park went further by hiring an Art Advisor in placing museum-quality art in its public spaces. This is true luxury: the holistic experience of getting to live around such important, inspiring and timeless works of art which will transcend time. The intention is that the works will be in place for future generations to appreciate. The daily experience of living with this quality of art is rare even among Chicago’s best properties, and it is raising the bar of what will be expected by the high-end buyer.
WW: A major installation by Tomás Saraceno has been commissioned for the lobby. Can you tell us about your plan for the installation? How rare is this kind of site-specific work for a residence?
AH: Tomás Saraceno’s work will be very unique for a Chicago residential lobby. It also marks the artists first public permanent sculpture in Chicago. Saraceno’s interactive sculpture will transform the space through form and reflective surfaces. Depending on where you view it and the time of day, it will create a different experience of the interior space, each arresting in its own way. The work will create a tension in the room by balancing its scale and formality.
We worked with the Berlin-based artist on this site-specific commission for nearly 18 months. The multi-dimensional sculpture was designed to integrate fully into the architecture, with the cloud-like, reflective forms suspended from the ceiling with spider web-like cables jutting from all angles, creating a floating sculpture that will leave the viewer mesmerized. The work is an example of Saraceno’s immersive cloudscape body of work, which propose new, sustainable ways of inhabiting the environment, drawing inspiration from the worlds of art, architecture, natural sciences and engineering. Saraceno sees clouds as embodying an idea of stillness in motion, inviting new ways of sensing air and inhabiting the atmosphere.
WW: Can you tell us about the Pae White tapestry that will also be on view?
AH: I liked the idea of placing a work in the historic, traditional medium of tapestry set within the context of the classical architecture of Robert Stern, but with the contemporary sensibilities of a talented artist like Pae White. The tapestry will add warmth and texture and will be a nice contrast with the sci-fi-like sculpture of Tomas Saraceno.
Both Saraceno and White address modern subjects such as the environment and science while using technology to create their works. White’s tapestry is covered in a tangle of bugs and provides the viewer a rich space for reverie and contemplation.
WW: On the rental side of the property, residents will also be treated to contemporary art in the lobby. Can you tell us about the Nick Cave tondo that will be on view there?
AH: It was vital to me to have a Chicago-based artist included in the collection of One Bennett Park. When I saw Nick Cave’s new body of “Tondos” in the spring of 2018, I knew this was the perfect work to place here. Not only does it integrate seamlessly with the formal architecture, but Cave’s work addresses complex issues, designed to heighten awareness of looming social issues and offer impetus for change in communities, while at the same time the surfaces and rich colors are seductive and exquisitely beautiful.
WW: You have a personal connection to Chicago, as well. Can you tell us more about that?
AH: I hail from the Midwest and spent my defining years in Chicago. I am thrilled to be able to collaborate with Related Midwest to place museum quality works in public spaces in a city which has such a rich history of architecture, art and culture.
WW: What do you think major contemporary artworks add to projects like One Bennett Park?
AH: It adds warmth, richness, emotion, inspiring the community while elevating the interior environment to a new aesthetic standard, something that I think is missing in most large-scale residential developments.
WW: How do you hope this art collection will impact the everyday experience of the condo owners and renters alike?
AH: Integrating extraordinary artworks in the lobby of a residential building heightens the quality of life of the residents, bringing visceral pleasure as well as adding culture and an intellectual component to the residents’ experience. Most residents of Chicago’s best buildings benefit from the use of a doorman, a gym, perhaps a swimming pool, but imagine you had all of that, and visual sublimity in your eyes every day?