In the middle of the sea of chaos that is the San Diego International Airport, Norie Sato stands in a relative island of calm. She's the commissioned artist behind the airport's Reflection Room (also called "The Spirit of Silence"), a new room-wide public-art installation that opened last Friday.
The space, located post-security in Terminal 2 West, is intended to be a respite for the weary traveler. It’s a non-denominational spiritual place where folks can escape the hustle-bustle to meditate, pray or just enjoy the silence.
“It’s really more about being internal,” Sato says. "Trying to keep it quiet enough so you can have your own thoughts about things, not trying to direct how you think or what you’re thinking about.”
“It’s amazing, because if you just open the door, it’s really loud out there,” she continues, demonstrating the noise-level change by opening the glass door at the entrance to the room. “The closing door really makes it quiet in here.”
The Reflection Room features a sculpture, benches made by San Diego artist Miki Iwasaki and glass panels that've been digitally printed with images of San Diego that Sato photographed. Look closely and you might spot the Star of India sailing amid a sea of beautiful organic abstract imagery that mimics the ocean or sky. There’s a persistent theme of air, earth and water throughout the room.
“I think it says something about San Diego,” Sato says, "that the water is very important, and that there’s a certain sense of the atmosphere that is nice to think about—the air around us.”