Best of 2001: Best Firehouse Art

Glass Sculpture by Nina Karavasiles
San Diego Fire Department, Station #11
25th and Broadway, Golden Hill

This fire station was already a winner. Station number 11 announces your arrival in the Art Deco Golden Hill heartland with its round tower, flagpole, and colorful night lighting. Architects Robbins, Jorgensen, and Christopher hauled off a bunch of awards for that. But Nina Karavasiles's sculpture, right outside the fire engines' exit, gives it a touch of class. A big bronze fire hose wraps itself around a concave dish splashed with a glass mosaic, which surrounds a somewhat phallic chrome fire nozzle. Interior-lit blue glass sits on top, looking like water. But here's the thing: The mosaic's flame-pattern image reflects on the shiny nozzle. If you stand still, you get the frightening view of yourself reflected in the flames. When you move, the flames "flicker." Karavasiles calls the installation "Signifire."

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