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Luminous Wind Art Piece at DEN Dedicated to Federico Peña

Monday, July 26, 2021

Luminous Wind

DENVER – July 17, 2021 – Today, Denver International Airport (DEN) and the City of Denver dedicated the newest public art installation, Luminous Wind, to Federico Peña who has served as Denver Mayor, U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Secretary of Energy.

“Federico Peña is a true visionary who led the efforts to move our airport east of the city and build DEN,” said airport CEO Phil Washington. “In doing so, he not only built an airport with room to grow, but he prepared us for the future and created an economic engine that provides more than $33.5 billion a year to our economy. His contributions have a lasting impact and it is an honor to dedicate this sculpture to such an amazing leader and member of our community.”

Luminous Wind stands at 27-feet tall and draws connections between Federico Peña’s vision, Peña Station NEXT, a master-planned smart city co-developed by DEN and Fulenwider, Inc. and the Panasonic technology- infused infrastructure. The art was inspired by Secretary Peña’s contributions to the City & County of Denver’s Public Art Program and DEN, in addition to his lifelong innovative achievements in energy, transportation, and sustainability.

“I thank Denver International Airport, Mayor Hancock and the talented artists for the spectacular sculpture that reflects many aspects of my public service career,” said Federico Peña. “I also thank the thousands of citizens who supported my public arts program and who imagined one of the great airports in the world. I accept this honor on their behalf as they created a major economic engine for the state of Colorado.”

The artwork was created by artists Laura Haddad and Thomas Drugan. Luminous Wind was constructed from environmentally activated materials, and the 952 prismatic clear acrylic rods within the piece reflect and refract sunlight during the day and radiate out from a stainless-steel geodesic sphere that is set on a tripod of stainless-steel columns.

At night, each rod is illuminated by an individually programmable color-changing LED node, resulting in a mosaic of shifting light colors and patterns to create a myriad of spectacular dynamic and vivid nighttime effects. A different moving light show each night of the week cycles through the sculpture, while holidays are marked by special colors and programs. The design incorporates a wind sensor that triggers an increase/decrease to the light movement, creating a barometer that visualizes and broadcasts wind patterns.

“It has been an honor working with the many talented folks in the Denver community to realize Luminous Wind,” said artists Thomas Drugan and Laura Haddad. “The artwork fuses so many inspirations from Federico Peña’s incredible vision and legacy to the beautiful sky and landscape and integration of smart city technologies. The artwork is, in a sense, both a lens that highlights the area’s dynamic natural phenomena of changing winds, sun and sky as well as cultural celebrations through the many changing light shows at night, and a beacon for the future where art and environment fuse through technology for a better world.”

The artwork was commissioned by the City and County of Denver Department of Aviation, in collaboration with Aviation Station North Metropolitan District and Fulenwider, at Peña Station NEXT. It was funded through the City’s Public Art Program Ordinance, which directs 1% of any capital improvement project over $1 million undertaken by the city to be set aside for the inclusion of art. Luminous Wind’s commission amount was $350,000.

Passengers can view Luminous Wind on 61st and Peña at Peña Station NEXT, while riding the RTD A-Line and from Peña Boulevard.