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'Universal Beacon' - vibrant fabric stretched over scaffolding - opens to public this weekend at Universal Plaza.

COURTESY PHOTO: DAVID BUCKLEY BORDEN - Artist David Buckley Borden and his crew test the fabric on his Universal Beacon installation recently. Plans are to complete the project this week at Universal Plaza. A large piece of public art created by a well-known artist will be on display at Tigard's Universal Plaza beginning Saturday.

The artwork, entitled "Universal Beacon," is being constructed by renowned artist David Buckley Borden.

"The piece is a vast scaffolding structure wrapped with vibrant, woven fabric pieces that run along the length of the west side of the plaza site," Tigard officials wrote in a news release announcing the installation. "A tower with an abstract flame made of fabric strips will rise from the structure."

Borden said he started exploring the installation concepts with a project team in July, with Tigard-based Pike Awning Co. completing offsite prefabrication this month.

Pike Awning contributed by cutting and sewing together the pre-fabricated strips that will be used to create the piece, which is located at 9100 S.W. Burnham St. That was no small feat — literally, considering the scaffolding skeleton for the fabric artwork measures 30 feet tall, 112 feet long and 16 feet deep at its widest point.

Borden said creating the piece involved digital drawings and 3D models. He was aided by the creative talents of Peter Emerson and Graham Sandelski at Rios, the company that is designing the plaza.

Borden, who is currently a visiting professor at the University of Oregon's landscape architecture department at the College of Design's School of Architecture and Environment, said he and his team will wrap and weave the marine-grade fabric around the scaffolding throughout the week.

He is encouraging those who visit the artwork, which should be ready for public interaction on Saturday, Feb. 20, to explore the light, shadow and color of the installation. It will be illuminated at night. COURTESY PHOTO: DAVID BUCKLEY BORDEN - This is a rendering of how the Universal Beacon fabric artwork will be completed at Universal Plaza this week.

"The scale of the work has been fun, but I've really enjoyed working with the great creative team," Borden wrote in an email Monday, Feb. 15. "The city of Tigard, Rios, Alisha Sullivan of Art Design Situation, Pike Awning and the lighting artist Chris Herring have been an outstanding group to work with. A project this large is only possible with a collective effort."

Borden studied landscape architecture at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He worked as a designer at Sasaki Associcates and now owns his own practice.

"Universal Beacon" is the sixth installation of temporary artwork to be installed at Universal Plaza, which is expected to officially open in 2022. Other recent projects at the site include a ground mural that covers 34,000 square feet of pavement, the construction of apple box benches and the installation of a musical bench.

While some sort of splashpad or water feature is expected to be part of the plaza, a design team is looking at other elements the space will host.COURTESY PHOTO: DAVID BUCKLEY BORDEN - Universal Beacon, a piece of artwork by renowned artist David Buckley Borden, will be illuminated at night at Universal Plaza.


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