Unveiled in October 2011, Lenfest Plaza at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in downtown Philadelphia provides a streetscape identity for America’s oldest art museum and school — and a gateway for the city’s art scene.
The new open-air gathering space previously was a neglected, half-block-long alley that bisected the school campus. Today it’s an outdoor gallery as well as a bustling pedestrian plaza. Giving the campus cohesiveness while creating linkages to Philadelphia’s “Museum Mile” and the newly constructed Pennsylvania Convention Center, the plaza features an iconic permanent public art installation, rotating student exhibitions and temporary sculpture, plus a stage, plantings, and tables for outdoor dining.
Connecting those elements is a custom, three-part serpentine bench that is underlit with iLight Plexineon White 2X Series fixtures. Besides adding a safety element, the Plexineon gives off a glow that arouses curiosity, drawing people along the narrow space and creating an inviting aura.