Created By: Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District
Target Plaza with Gathering Vessel, 2002
Circular Carved Granite Benches, Cast Glass Fountain, Glass and Metal Light Sconces and Landscaping
Howard Ben Tré, Providence, Rhode Island
Photo: Regina M. Flanagan
"Howard Ben Tré influenced all aspects of Target Plaza. He designed the granite seating ring and planting beds, as well as the glass and bronze medallions, paving, and lighting sconces on the Target Corporation Headquarters that bounds the plaza. He also created the centerpiece, an exquisite cast glass fountain called Gathering Vessel.
The artist pioneered the use of cast glass as a sculptural medium. Ben Tré studied glass-making at the Rhode Island School of Design when Dale Chihuly led the program, but chose to cast glass in molds, an industrial process, rather than blowing glass in the traditional manner Chihuly favored.
Ben Tré brings a handmade feel to minimalist forms that appear to be sculpted from ice. In summer, water shimmers down the frosted, unpolished surface of the ten-foot-tall barrel-shaped glass column and disappears into a basin below. This columnar glass form, bound by copper bands, is replayed in smaller scale in the lighting sconces on the building. A semi-circle carved granite bench and seasonal planters complete the ensemble.
When Target Corporation was seeking an artist to design the plaza, they approached the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for advice and the curator and director both recommended Ben Tré. He is included in more than one-hundred museum and public collections worldwide, among them New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Human form and scale are important to Ben Tré: 'I want to counter the negative element in contemporary society, the anonymity that’s hard on the human soul. I aim to create a more humanistic space which asks people to interact with one another.'"
This point of interest is part of the tour: Nicollet Public Art Tour