Altus Architectural Studios, Inc., along with local partners Turner Construction, The Waldinger Corporation and D.W. Steel recently installed a new picnic table on the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus.
The public art initiative “To-Gather” was sent as a challenge to local architectural firms by Tri-Faith Initiative. Tri-Faith utilizes art as a vehicle to inspire participation and public discussion on social issues and core values.
Led by the Altus team this one-of-a-kind picnic table concept was imagined as a space where those of all faiths might meet to share a meal, discuss issues, and solve complex problems. With this basic premise in mind, the design team set out to create a table that was not only functional and durable, but also representative of larger purpose identified through Tri-Faith’s Initiative, “To-Gather.”
The table’s top was designed in three main components representative of the main Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. While the three components are each different in size, shape and geometric orientation, they share one common, central piece that holds each of the three, diverse components together. The table’s central, rectangular-shaped core is representative of the monotheistic tradition that all three religions share – a belief in one God.
When considered more broadly, the table design holds additional meaning and promotes the concept that all societal groups (religious, ethnic, and racial) can and must sit down as one to solve complex problems together. Built within the centerpiece of the table is an interactive maze that can only be successfully solved by all parties working together as a whole, and while seated at the table.
This table will provide both functional and long-lasting service to those simply wishing to sit down for a moment. For those seeking to see it, a larger meaning, one promoting strength through Inter-faith cooperation can be understood.