Recent headlines that mention airports have not been exactly positive. With canceled and delayed flights, long lines, and missed holidays, airports need a little bit of good news. We’re here to help! This week, we’ll introduce you to some great art that you might just roll by, if you’re not paying attention. Our selection of airport art might just put a smile on your face while you’re on an unexpected layover.
With lots of space built in, airports of all sizes have plenty of room for big mosaic art installations, murals, sculptures, and more. Let’s hit the moving sidewalks and visit our first destination!
1. Rome-Fiumicino International Airport, Italy (FCO)
It’s not much of a stretch to imagine the Eternal City’s terminals as classically elegant. Well, carved columns might not be the rage in architecture – but this award-winning airport exposes visitors to some exceptional ancient Roman art. While perusing the duty-free shops in Terminal 3, travelers may also stop to appreciate a nice selection of statues, mosaic pavement sections, and even reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions.
This mosaic with zodiac signs and seasons is from the Necropolis of Isola Sacra – a tomb – and dates to the 2nd century AD.
If you’d like a side of wonderment with your lunch, stop off at any of the oversized replicas that pepper the terminal.
2. Houston Hobby Airport, (HOU)
The Houston Airport System has made a significant investment into beautifying its busy terminals. With one of the largest collections of public art in the state of Texas, they’ve created a welcome surprise for harried travelers.
Focused primarily on Texas-based artists and contemporary art, the pieces are placed throughout the grounds and terminals. Above, Lucas Johnson’s Still Life with Schomburgkia Lucas Johnson can be seen near Gates 1-5. Large-scale pieces are positioned for maximum impact, helping to break up the expanses of terminals and walkways.
Ethereal Sky 2015, a glass mosaic wall art installation by Libbie J. Masterson, hangs near the Southwest Ticketing area. Designed to work with the natural lighting in the space, it’s 6.5′ x 36′ in length, installed in 14 panels, 3′ x 5′ each. The artist utilized a mirror backing with an archival epoxy resin to compose the mosaic.
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
We have to include the Twin Cities in our roundup – because they are overflowing with awesome mosaic wall art! After commissioning some temporary installations from artist Anne Labovitz, the airport went on to add her mosaic art to its permanent art collection.
The large-scale piece 122 Conversations as seen above, features a series of painted scrolls – each inspired by conversations with residents of Duluth’s Duluth’s five Sister Cities: Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan, Växjö, Sweden, Petrozavodsk, Russia, Thunder Bay, Canada, and Ohara Isumi-City, Japan.
These popular pieces spurred the creation of two new glass mosaic panels by Labovitz.
These pieces now energize the terminals with their highly saturated colors and glowing smalti glass tiles. We can’t think of a better way to kick off a vacation – with some spirited mosaic artwork designs!
4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands (AMS)
An excellent destination for art lovers, Amsterdam is full of renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. However, if your trip to the city involved more business and less sightseeing, fear not! Schiphol Airport will still let you complete your art education with their smaller version of the Rijksmuseum galleries. Look for it, and you’ll get a crash course in 17th-century Dutch masters – and more!
You can still get up-close and personal with fine art – which is regularly rotated out with new selections from the famed museum.
Perhaps best of all: There’s a gift shop for all the classy souvenirs you might have missed on your trip. Guilt-free art appreciation is something we can all get behind!
5. Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV)
Tel Aviv’s airport frequently updates its gallery walls with selections from local artists, as well as some inspiring replicas of major archeological finds. In addition to the fine art, travelers are treated to whimsical interactive public art in the food courts and terminal areas.
The airport’s close proximity to Lod – the archeological site of some of the most spectacular mosaic finds in the last few decades – and other important locations are brought to everyone’s attention at Terminal 3. There, the famous “bird mosaic” from the historic Israeli city of Beit She’an. It’s set above the entry under which every arriving passenger at the main terminal must pass before passport control.
6. San Diego International, CA (SDO)
This particular Southern California airport is so committed to public art that it created an arts program! From performance art to music and big installations, this high-traffic spot goes big on exposing visitors to high quality pieces and performances. They even made the shift to online sharing in the last two years as they participated in events like the Jet Stream Music Festival.
The entire location is packed with so many different art pieces, one can make a dedicated trip just to see them all. The message of the busy program for visitors is “Arrive. Depart. Be Inspired.”
Mosaic-loving travelers can enjoy pieces like this 38-foot long marble and glass mosaic mural in Terminal 1. It’s just one of hundreds of individual treasures placed thoughtfully in the buildings.
7. Incheon International Airport, South Korea (IIA)
The Incheon Airport is unique in that it has its own branch of the National Museum onsite. That’s correct – lucky travelers with a bit of time to spare may soak up priceless cultural treasures as they wait for connections.
New exhibitions will highlight different art forms, such as ceramics. The latest exhibition: “Containing Beauty — Deep Enjoyment, Brilliant Light,” is a year-long exhibit of 32 Korean artifacts and treasures.
Items on display include the Silver Foliated Cup from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), White Porcelain Jar with dragon and cloud design in underglaze cobalt-blue from 19th century Joseon (1392-1910), Gold Earrings from the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. to A.D. 935) and Celadon Ewer with inlaid peony design from the Goryeo Dynasty.
Elsewhere, the terminals feature contemporary art in a variety of mediums. Artists such as Xavier Veilhan, Kim Byung-joo, and Jinnie Seo have completed recent commissions.
Although passing through airports is seldom a favorite part of travel plans, you might wish to spend your next layover soaking up some art! With the added benefits of encouraging travelers to slow down, destress, and find some small wonders, airport art installations are a win for all involved. In a world filled with all sizes of airports, have you ever spotted a hidden favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Be sure to always stay up to date with the latest art news and mosaic-rich travel destinations around the world by signing up for our newsletter!
Turn your desired space into an art museum with the help of our mosaic designs.