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Coastal Engineering Company of Orleans Cape Cod
June 14, 2017

Through the Looking Glass Installation Design

The newest addition to the public art scene in the HyArts Cultural District was installed at Hyannis Transportation Center. Coastal Engineering Co. has designed the foundation and structural support system.

Through The Looking Glass Thumb

The sculpture, made of weathered and waxed steel and etched and filled polycarbonate panels, is a winner of Art Meets Nature competition, sponsored by the Cape Cod Art Association and Barnstable Department of Economic Development. This is a true community art project: a collaboration between The Design Initiative Inc. (design), Coastal Engineering Co. (structural support plans), Cor Metals (welding), and Advanced Laser Engraving, Inc. (etching).

“My intent for Through the Looking Glass was to offer Hyannis visitors who would pass by the sculpture on their way to the ferry a chance to pause and reflect on their travel experiences,” says Mary-Ann Agresti, AIA, the artist who designed the sculpture. “The design is inspired by the many lenses we use to view the world around us: lunettes, telescopes, port holes. These tools frame our view and enhance it, and in that function, they are linked to travel, which also influences how we see the world.”

The colored lenses are carefully positioned to frame a path and generate excitement towards a new Cape Cod adventure. They crop the view in unique ways, reaching beyond the line of sight of a single traveler: the old tracks of the railroad, abstract views of the sky, and the distant harbor - a vibrant part of Hyannis. While the materials are fixed, the varied perspective and changing position of the sun cause the colors cast from the lenses to move throughout the day, glimmers surprise and delight. 

Drawings from both nature and history illustrate this threshold. Among them are train and boat wheels, nautilus, birds, and a turtle – an ancient symbol of Earth for a local Wampanoag tribe. As travelers arrive and anticipate new adventures, they are inspired by the words of Hans Cristian Andersen, etched on the accompanying sign: “To travel is to live.”

“Through the Looking Glass” is one of four pro bono sculptures that Coastal Engineering has engineered in recent years. We also designed wind-resistant structural plans for the “Sailboard” sculpture in front of the Sturgis School on Pearl St. in Hyannis (featured in At Home on Cape Cod magazine), the Tides sculpture off South Street in Hyannis, and the Whale sculpture off Cove Road in Orleans.