Cuban artist Alex Arrechea drew from his own series of watercolor paintings to design his "Katrina Chairs," which he installed at the the 2016 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The chairs stand to represent the idea of foundations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused in 2005 in New Orleans.
Standing at an overwhelming height of 50 feet and measuring 19 feet wide, the chairs "amplify" the issue of the natural disaster and provide a place of refuge for festival attendees from the dry heat and desert sun. The idea of finding refuge in structures and having strong foundations in the face of a natural disaster speaks to the need for resilient design in our homes and buildings. Home builders have responded to storms like Hurricane Katrina by changing their community planning strategy, designing stormproof homes that could withstand another Hurricane Sandy, and are most recently trying to work around the flooding in Houston. See more of BUILDER's coverage of resilient design here.
The pieces were designed in Cuba and then assembled on-site in California, and are formed around a plywood-clad steel frame.
ARCHITECT content producer Chelsea Blahut spoke to Arrechea at the 2016 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival about his design:
“It is important to always remember Hurricane Katrina,” Arrechea says, “but this could happen anywhere.” To illustrate the ubiquity of natural and man-made disasters, Arrechea designed the chair-structures with general, minimalist forms in order to blend in with the architectural aesthetic of any city, rather than just that of New Orleans.