En Passant

Barbara McCarren (artist) and Burton and Company, Landscape Architects, Fairfax and Santa Monica boulevards, West Hollywood.

The description below and the first two photographs are made available courtesy of the artist and the CRA/LA.

"En Passant is a collaborative effort by Burton and Company, Landscape Architects and Barbara McCarren, artist, for the bus stop garden at the intersection of Santa Monica and Fairfax Boulevards in West Hollywood, California. The project team has designed an art plan for the intersection that takes its conceptual cue from the game of chess.

The immediate community, comprised of many immigrants of Russian descent familiar with chess, along with the notion of navigating the urban grid suggested the game as an appropriate reference to present at the site.

Columns of bamboo stand in as line pieces, knights and pawns in position across the sidewalks at the NE corner. Each column is banded with a poetic phrase from the language of chess that is also an intriguing phrase on its own that often has another meaning in common usage. (Example: "The principle of two weaknesses"). The columns are up-lighted at night for dramatic effect.

There are black and white granite pavers installed throughout the project area pavement. Their arrangement denotes the paths on the board traveled by the various chessmen.

The landscape, featuring a focused planting of both captured and unrestrained bamboo statically mimics the stop and go of traffic and reinforces the allusion to the game of chess. All plantings feature red, white, black and green flowers and/or foliage. The towers provide a strong vertical identity both day and night to the corner.

While the driving and transit audiences can appreciate the visual effects of the project, it is the pedestrian that experiences the visual, physical and conceptual components simultaneously."

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