The sculpture was placed in an olive grove near the visitor’s centre at Apple Park, the main campus for the company.
“Visitors experience Mirage by walking along columns that reveal stories of the world’s deserts,” said Zeller & Moye co-founder Christoph Zeller. “The sculpture unfolds piece by piece, through gradually shifting color, surface texture and material consistencies.”
The team worked with both material scientists and traditional glassmakers to create the columns, each of which stands more than six feet (1.8 metres) above the ground.
Sand was collected from a variety of different deserts from around the world, allowing for a variety of textures and patterns to be represented in each piece.
The artwork was meant to represent global collaboration by using materials from multiple different sites.
“Mirage is a global artwork,” said the team.
“In the spirit of cooperation, sand was sustainably collected, in partnership with UNESCO, geologists and communities across the world’s desert regions,” it added.
“The artwork celebrates each of the lands from which it is created, and the people who nurture, conserve, and sustain these lands.”
Mirage derives its name from the effect that the glass gives off when hit by light. Because it is arranged among the trees, the glass “appears to subtly melt” into the surrounding groves.
The team claims that it had to “invent” methods of glass working to achieve the scale of the project.
It was meant to add to the experience of procession through the grove, across the campus, as well as serve as a gathering place for visitors and for employees.
“The spatial composition activates the existing park landscape by creating an unexpected social and contemplative gathering place for visitors and staff to relax, to lay down on the grass, to have a picnic or to play,” said Zeller & Moye co-founder Ingrid Moye.
Apple Park was designed by UK studio Foster + Partners. It is known for its visitor’s center and for the Steve Jobs Theater, both of which feature pavilion-like structures with glass walls and thin cantilevered roofing.
Zeller & Moye has offices in Berlin and Mexico City. The studio has created works at a number of scales, including earthquake-resistant housing in Mexico City.
The photography is by Iwan Baan.
Architects: Zeller & Moye / Ingrid Moye, Christoph Zeller (principals), Francesco Baggio, Damjan Brundic, Francesco Spadini, Yang Zhong (team)
Artist: Katie Paterson (principal)
Art consultancy: Artsource Consulting
Art gallery: James Cohan Art Gallery
Local architect: HGA
Contractor: Holder Construction
Structural engineers: Eckersley O’Callaghan
Lighting consultants: ISP Design
Landscape designer: Olin Studio
Civil engineer: Kier+Wright
Electrical engineers: Cupertino Electric
Geotechnical engineering investigation: BAGG Engineers
Scientific specialists: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft / TU Delft ReStruct Group | TU Delft
Waterproofing specialists: Morrison Hershfield
Glass manufacturer: John Lewis Glass, Inc.
Steel manufacturer: VCG Global
Sand mix: East Bay Batch and Color