The Harmonic Runway

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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

The Harmonic Runway

Who would think that an airport would be home to displays of art? Well, many airports do just that, and Miami International Airport is no exception. Next time you are passing through an airport, take a little time to look around, you may be pleasantly surprised!

If you have never arrived at Concourse A then you may have missed one of our favourite parts of Miami International Airport, the Harmonic Runway. However, if you fly in with BA you should experience this amazing corridor on the third floor. It is unlike anything we have ever seen, and aims to let you experience art, not just look at it.

Completed in 1995 by Christopher Janney, this amazing piece of artwork is an interactive sound and light environment, and provides an amazingly tranquil oasis in what is usually a busy and hectic airport. This 180 ft long corridor is lined with 132 vertical sheets of coloured glass, and in the background you can hear a sound score which is based on the natural environment of Florida. There are shades of pink green, yellow, blue, purple and turquoise glass, through which the sunlight outside is filtered, and which makes you feel as if you are walking through a rainbow. As you walk along the moving walkway you can hear ‘sounds’ of crickets, frogs or flocks of birds flying over the Everglades. But the most amazing thing is that, as you walk along, you activate photo-electric cells every 10 ft, which send information to a computer. Travellers trigger the sounds of melodic instruments, so every time you walk through the Harmonic Runway, the sounds are different, and you shape the rhythm of the music.

Christopher Janney is a highly regarded artist who trained as an architect, and a jazz musician. He has a permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institution, and his work is highly regarded for its originality, and the way in which it makes public spaces ‘more spontaneous, more alive’. The Harmonic Runway was commissioned by the Metro-Dade Art in Public Places Trust. It was sponsored by Apple Computers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Monsanto Company, and the Dow Corning Corporation amongst others.

If you are lucky enough to arrive via Concourse A you will be in for another treat. Look down at the fabulous black terrazzo floors and you will see embedded in them bronze and mother-of-pearl seashells. Called ‘A Walk on the Beach’ this is another example of ‘Art in Public Places’. This stunning floor was designed and executed by the artist, Michael Oka Doner. Another terrazzo floor worth looking at can be found in Concourse H, and this is decorated with abstract ‘Flight Patterns’, by Robert Calvo.

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