The Fremont Portal
Two portals lead from the Center of the Universe to infinite and unknown destinations.
In the heart of Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, an elaborate signpost marks the Center of the Universe, with many arrows pointed toward various local attractions—the troll under a bridge, the giant bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin—as well as far-flung destinations like the North Pole and Taiwan. The sign inspired Verda Alexander to think about “time travel, wormholes and portals,” she says. She also saw examples of infinity in the repetition and perspective of the neighborhood’s architecture. With these ideas in mind, she set out to create a pair of portals for a Fremont apartment building.
The first is a starburst made of vinyl. Its main visual element is a spoke—the turned-wood kind found on the wheel of a ship—with a shape that echoes architectural detailing on the Fremont Library next door. Every year, the neighborhood hosts a huge summer solstice parade; the portal thus reflects the community’s interest in sun and solar symbolism, laid out like luminous rays. Alexander further sliced and manipulated the image to create a 3D optical illusion that suggests a wormhole.The second portal on the opposite side of the building is made of engraved brick, which forms what Alexander calls an “arch to infinity.” Directly referencing an arch on a nearby office building, Alexander created the shape by merging two drawings—one with the regular lines of the brick and grout, and one with the irregular lines that produce the infinity effect.