Denny Substation is now home to two incredible new public artworks, the towering Transforest by Lead Pencil Studio and a kinetic piece, Switchwall, by Ned Kahn. The Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) worked with Seattle City Light to incorporate artworks and cultural planning that supports the utility’s mission and goals at the Denny Substation.
ARTS worked with City Light and architects to develop a temporary art program prior to construction of the substation, and permanent art installations at the new facility that are responsive to the surrounding community and reinforce the public nature and essential function of the station.
Denny Substation Permanent Artworks
Transforest by Lead Pencil Studio
Transforest is a site-specific sculpture developed to address important qualities inherent to the Denny Substation site and its broader context. The large-scale sculpture combines forms drawn from Seattle City Light’s industrial history and those of our Northwest landscape, creating a narrative of Seattle’s system of electrical generation that has been placed into the wilderness of Washington. The artwork is designed as an integrated landscape element that serves the place-making needs of the future public space.
Watch Seattle’s tallest public art combines old and new from KING 5 News.
Switchwall by Ned Kahn
Switchwall is a kinetic artwork that covers three faces of the substation façade with an array of thousands of light “switches” that are flipped by the wind. During the day the polished aluminum surface of the swaying panels reflect light and color from the sky and surrounding buildings. As the wind flips the panels from side to side they will reflect light from very different parts of the sky and surrounding environment. These light contrasts will animate the façade. As night approaches, or on dark cloudy days, the blue and orange LEDs will become visible and the artwork will reveal a different luminosity but will still create the impression of movement.
Watch this video of Switchwall both during the day and night to see how it moves.