The Windscreens run the full length of the RTD G-Line, a 10-mile stretch from Denver’s Union Station to the City of Wheat Ridge, applied to each of the 17 waiting areas on seven station platforms.
The idea was to develop a unique work of art linking each of the stations together as a cohesive whole. Ditroën developed a concept to create a visual attraction that engages and entertains riders as well as leaving them with a story and a deeper sense of the very place where they find themselves waiting for the next train.
In preparing the initial design proposal, Ditroën did some preliminary research around the communities that exist along the line. The historical significance of the discovery of gold along the line contributed to the establishment of the city of Denver and the settling of the West. This nugget of history inspired Ditroën to expand gold’s overarching influence in history, cosmology, alchemy, spirituality and mythology. The overarching theme of gold as an influencer became the backbone of the story arc.
The G-Line installation was one of the most complex and demanding design projects ever undertaken by Ditroën, in part because the materials needed to stand up to Denver’s harsh climate and vandalism. These design constraints along with requirements like durability, ease of maintenance and longevity were all key considerations as the team developed the materiality and overall design aesthetic of the work.
Each station has its own color palette and architectural aesthetic, from minimal and modern to historically referential. This was our first design challenge. We needed to create a singular design solution that could be aesthetically integrated across a wide variety of station design types.
The installation of the 58 individual panels also came with its own set of unique challenges requiring quick thinking and problem-solving on a daily basis, and more than a few trips to the hardware store. Weather ended up creating unexpected challenges during the installation; Colorado is second only to Florida as the lightning capital of the nation due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains.
The team was pleasantly surprised by the effect natural light and its trajectory from dawn to dusk dramatically change and emphasize different aspects of the multi-layered work. This was a calculated response to the constant flow of ridership. The idea was to keep visitors engaged and interested on multiple levels. For example, the morning glare on a bright sunny day picks up the contrasting shapes created by the laser cut metal, whereas diffused light at dusk or on a cloudy day allows the story and gold leaf to stand out more and keeps visitors engaged on multiple levels.
Hopefully, the work will reflect the DNA and unique sense of place within each of the communities and resonate with locals, thus defining connective nodes that knit communities together as a whole and inspire visitors to explore the area for themselves.
Dardinelle Troen (principal in charge/creative director), Terry Tebeau (3D designer), Leslee Dillon (copywriter)
Juno Architectural Glass (glass panels), Advanced Metal & Wire Products (laser cut and powder coated metal panels)