Public art installations inspired by Duke Energy’s clean energy mission and reflect vibrant history of uptown Charlotte
Installation scheduled to begin this month
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy today announced that three public art installations will be constructed at the company’s new headquarters in uptown Charlotte – the Duke Energy Plaza – to celebrate the city and company’s mission. The works of art will be freely accessible to the public and emphasize the company’s commitment to powering the vitality of its communities.
“Our new headquarters will add to Charlotte’s stunning skyline and be a place to connect, innovate and inspire as part of the city’s vibrant uptown community," said Donna Council, senior vice president of Administrative Services. “We wanted to share Duke Energy’s core values and clean energy mission in visually dynamic ways.”
Passersby outside Duke Energy Plaza’s main entrance on South Tryon Street will be greeted with two illuminated sculptures by Charlotte-based artist Ivan Toth Depeña. The pieces visualize photons, the smallest particles of light not visible to the human eye and the basis for solar generation. Behind the sculptures – the larger of which is nearly 40 feet tall – the building’s façade will feature a six-story panel with a silhouette of Depeña’s interpretation of a photon, creating a striking backdrop to the towering works of art.
Affixed to the Brooklyn Village Avenue-facing façade of Duke Energy Plaza will be a three-dimensional mural by Nigerian native and Brooklyn, NY-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous. The piece symbolizes the rich history and cultural heritage of the former Brooklyn neighborhood, a predominantly Black community in Charlotte’s Second Ward that was razed in the city’s “urban renewal” movement in the 1960s and ’70s. While designing the mural, Jeyifous consulted with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and met with civic leaders and former members of the historic Brooklyn community.
An immersive installation by Chicago-based art duo Luftwerk will be inside Duke Energy Plaza’s Experience Hall, an extension of the main lobby and casual gathering space during normal business hours. Titled Journey of the Sun, a sculpture of 85 colorful, translucent glass discs will be suspended from the ceiling in a slender, figure-eight curve representing the sun’s path across the sky over the course of a year. The piece also features complementary motion graphic animations to be displayed along the space’s nearly 60-foot-long AV wall. Together, the sculpture and video are designed to capture the movement of time and light, creating an immersive experience for employees and visitors alike.
The company worked with Hodges Taylor, a Charlotte-based gallery and consulting firm, to facilitate the search for artists whose practices and designs reflected Duke Energy’s commitment to inclusion and a clean energy transformation.
“Not only does public art help a community build its cultural identity, it also helps residents build a sense of belonging,” said Lauren Harkey, owner and director of Hodges Taylor. “I feel honored to be part of the Duke Energy team and witness their eagerness to provide a meaningful platform to bring these artists’ visions to life, and to light, while adding to the dynamic fabric of the city.”
Installation of the photon sculptures is scheduled to begin in early February and continue through March. The Brooklyn mural and interior Experience Hall are scheduled to begin installation this summer.
“We can’t thank Hodges Taylor, the Gantt and arts community members enough for helping ensure these art installations are a meaningful reflection of our city and our company,” said Council. “The Plaza represents a new chapter for Duke Energy, and these creative works will welcome the community for years to come.”
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2023 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Hodges Taylor is Charlotte’s longest-running gallery and consulting firm, founded in 1980. The women-owned gallery focuses on promoting Southeastern artists in a range of mediums and curating and presenting artists who share in common the power to spark curiosity, conversation, and collaboration.
The art consulting firm provides services to both corporate and individual collectors and develops projects that integrate works of art into every aesthetic, environment, and concept. Over its forty-two-year history, the company established an extensive network of relationships with artist partners, reliable vendors, and industry contractors and consistently partners with and supports the arts community.
About the Artists
Ivan Toth Depeña is an artist currently based in Charlotte, NC, after having lived and worked in Miami, FL and New York, NY. Ivan's commercial design studio is known as Airboat, Inc. With a master’s degree in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Depeña’s artistic production is informed by his experience in art, architecture, technology and design, and encompasses a range of media. Depeña pursues the intersection between different disciplines with the aim of choreographing the moment when these aspects come together seamlessly. Using traditional avenues such as drawing, painting and sculpture then interweaving interactivity/responsiveness, video, light and high-tech methods of fabrication, Depeña explores the fine line between chance and intention.
Olalekan Jeyifous received a bachelor of architecture degree from Cornell University and is a Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist whose work re-imagines social spaces that examine the relationships between architecture, community, and the environment. He has exhibited at venues such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA, the Vitra Design Museum and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. In addition to an extensive exhibition history; he has spent over a decade creating large-scale installations for a variety of public spaces, including a forth-coming installation at the Charlotte Douglas airport.
Luftwerk (led by Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero; Experience Hall project in collaboration with Volume Gallery)
Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero met in 1999 while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and soon discovered a shared interest in installations that transform and sculpt spaces using light, color, and texture, prompting them to find their own studio. Asked how they came up with the name Luftwerk, they reply: “We wanted to find a name that reflected how people experience our work.” Luft (air) stands for the ephemeral, immaterial properties of light. Werk (work, artwork) alludes to the materiality of surfaces, structures, and methods, and defines the framework in which light, color and sound take shape. Their work shifts the viewer’s perceptions of space and site and opens new conversations by inviting the public to experience the familiar transformed.
Contact: Madison McDonald
Date: Feb. 6, 2023