Business Traveller

Airport art that's super trippy

Daisy Carrington, for CNNUpdated 1st December 2015
(CNN) — A gallery dedicated to toilets? A robot repair shop? Is it us, or has airport art gotten decidedly trippy?
Then again, there are worse ways to spend a layover. We've curated some of the most inventive art currently on display at the airport.

Gallery Toto, Narita International Airport

Everyone knows about the state-of-the-art toilets in Japan, but at Tokyo's Narita Airport, they are -- literally -- a work of art.
The public toilets in the passageway to Terminal 2 are housed in Gallery Toto (Toto is the brand responsible for most of the country's bathroom innovations, including the cleansing, antibacterial jets that shoot out of the bowl).
The gallery itself is sort of an ode to all things... well, toilet-related. The facade features a multicolored LED screen that showcases silhouettes of figures dancing around a toilet.
If nothing else, the artwork has a way of making bathroom-time seem like an exhilarating experience (which, if you're using a Toto, it probably is).

Fraley's Robot Repair Pit, Pittsburgh International Airport

Fraley's Robot Repair: Turning sad robots into happy robots.
Fraley's Robot Repair: Turning sad robots into happy robots.
Courtesy Toby Fraley
Even fliers who don't currently have a retro robot on the fritz will appreciate the robot repair shop recently installed at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The art installation was the brainchild of Toby Fraley, who won a public art award for a similar exhibit in an empty Pittsburgh storefront. A self-professed "aviation junkie," he approached the local airport authority about relocating.
"I think it's always more exciting to see a piece of great art, as opposed to yet another book shop or fast food restaurant. Those are the only other entities breaking up the monotony between the identical gates," he says.
The new shop is three times the size of the original, and is full of quirky little details that are sure to entertain passengers with time to kill.

Moment Factory, Los Angeles International Airport

Moment Factory is inspired by L.A. iconography and destinations served by LAX Airport.
Moment Factory is inspired by L.A. iconography and destinations served by LAX Airport.
Courtesy LAX
At Tom Bradley International Terminal, the walls have eyes -- or that's how it can feel thanks to Los Angeles Airport's collaboration with Montreal-headquartered media studio Moment Factory.
Among the seven multimedia features are a set of ten 8.5-meter walls that respond to passenger movements, unleashing surreal videos of dripping water or flipping tiles.
The 22-meter Time Tower is the crux of what is the largest interactive multimedia exhibition in any American airport. The walls of the clock regularly break out in animations that mimic dancers operating the mechanics inside the timepiece.
The exhibit "was designed to provide a calming way to entertain and enhance the passenger experience visually and emotionally," says LAX spokeswoman Mary Grady.

Kinetic Rain, Singapore Changi Airport

It's raining bronze at Changi Airport's Terminal 1.
1,216 hollow, bronze droplets make up the 74-square-meter moving sculpture beloved by many traveling through Singapore.
The drops move in harmony, like a ballet troupe, to form a range of 3D shapes, including an airplane, a hot-air balloon -- even a dragon.

Harmonic Convergence, Miami International Airport

Robin Hill/Courtesy Christopher Janney
Imagine if you could catch -- and walk through -- a rainbow. The feeling might be reminiscent of experiencing "Harmonic Convergence" -- a musical, interactive installation at Miami International Airport.
Artist Christopher Janney -- who trained as an architect and jazz musician -- has created similar, site-specific works at several airports throughout the U.S., including "Passing Light" at San Antonio International and "Rainbow Cove" at Boston's Logan International.
The installation changes colors gradually, and travelers that approach are serenaded with sounds Janney recorded of his trips to the Florida Everglades.
"My commitment is to make art for public spaces, to affect social change at the local level," says Janney.
"Like any public project, it is often one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration."

Bedtime story pods, Frankfurt and Munich Airports

Travel can be exhilarating, but it can also be sad, especially if you're a parent leaving a little one behind.
German airline Lufthansa has come up with a notion that should make time on the road a little less lonely for parent and child alike: bedtime story pods.
The idea is simple: parents with time to kill at the departure gate can record themselves reading a children's story aloud. The recording is then sent to their wee ones via text or email.
The "studios" have been set up at Frankfurt Airport and will soon be available at Munich Airport as well.

The Playground, Hamad International Airport

World-renowned sculptor Tom Otterness is best known for his bronze figures, which somewhat resemble chubby stick figures.
Those traveling through Qatar, however, can play in his overgrown playground.
The airport has partnered with the Qatar Museums Authority to acquire the works of several locally, regionally and internationally celebrated artists, including Otterness, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer, to name a few.
"In Qatar, culture is at the heart of its human and national development -- and there is no better place to creatively welcome visitors and residents than the airport itself," says a senior airport official.