Darling Flower Shop

Year:  2004
Type:  Public Art Installation
Location:  Berkeley, CA

Long before the Darling Flower Shop Building, a mixed-use development, was built, there stood in its place the Darling Flower Shop which has been a Berkeley fixture since the early 1900's. When the developer purchased the land from the family-owned florist, they were promised a space on the ground level for the flower shop amidst the multi-family housing above.

While still pursuing a Master’s Degree at University of California Berkeley, Khanani was commissioned to design an installation in one of the building’s 6-story stairwells. The installation was designed to enhance the quality of stairwell space through filtration and reflectance of existing light along with the addition of color. It consists of 42 prefabricated acrylic panels faced with gel medium transferred images of a sunflower, a flora native to the area, from stem to petals. All panels are 3.5 inches in height and vary in length dependent on the given space and are hung to the existing north wall with custom-designed and fabricated Ipe brackets. At the very top of the stairwell, just before the entrance to the roof deck, is the bloom itself.

Additionally, on the exterior west wall of the stairwell, one word text is adhered to the window at each stair landing. Each of the words represent a phase in the life of flower, beginning with “burrow” on the 1st level up to “pollination” on the 6th level. The words are visible from the street but also cast shadows on the wall and change in size and intensity over the course of the day.