Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chronos, Lord of the Hotel Wetland

I've written before about the still fairly new Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, and can report that its oddball meeting-room names are still in place -- the Perfection Parlor and the Perfection Boardroom, as well as the Nirvana Threshold -- since I visited the place again today for an event. Which was held in the prosaic Schaumburg East, unfortunately. I could have used a morning on the threshold of nirvana.

Time was short, but I did manage to take pictures of one of the two major outdoor sculptures on site that I could see, the stainless steel "Chronos," by John C. Portman Jr., the Atlanta architect who also designed the hotel. Installed about three years ago, the sculpture sits in one of the artificial wetlands that are mandatory for large developments in our time (well, the mid-2000s; development has mostly stopped in our time).

According to the nearby sign, "the sculpture's cyclical fretwork... also hints toward technology and the internal workings of a clock." Maybe. I'm reminded more of a pocket-watch hitting the ground hard and exploding into pieces.

It's a sizable hotel and the sculpture is a fair-sized chunk of steel, but they clearly represent one of the smaller commissions for Portman, who's known for designing big things, including the first atrium hotel (Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 1967) and a lot else besides, for better or worse.

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