‘From the Earth to the Sky’ Joins Collection of Terrazzo Public Art at Phoenix Airport

Public Art at Phoenix Airport

Artist Bill Dambrova, who had never worked with terrazzo before, was one of seven Arizona artists commissioned by the Phoenix Public Art Program to design public art in terrazzo for the latest in a series for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s elevated train station platforms.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity and challenge to design such a large-scale artwork to be shared by so many people,” Dambrova said. His design, “From the Earth to the Sky,” was one of two new platforms that received a 2022 Honor Award from the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association (NTMA).

As a painter, Dambrova looked for inspiration to the microscopic sea creatures called diatoms that swarmed in the shallow sea where Phoenix now stands. For his terrazzo design, he created symbols based on diatoms, discovering a theme of cross-cultural star imagery that touches upon the interconnection of life.

“My intention is to metaphorically connect the earth and the sky on the same plane within the design,” the artist said. “The fact that we are using such durable long-lasting materials installed by masters in their field means that the floor will be a long-lasting and memorable icon and experience for millions of travelers who journey through Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in the years to come.”

Bruce Thornham of Advance Terrazzo in Phoenix, the terrazzo installer on the project, enjoyed instructing the artists about how epoxy terrazzo works and observing how as their understanding increased, it shaped their designs.

“Working with artists new to terrazzo is always exciting,” said Thornham. “We get to rediscover what makes our work and craftsmanship so special, and bring an artist’s work to life in the medium of a terrazzo floor that will last for years.”


The contractor guided the color and aggregate selection, which included shells and fossils to represent the ancient seabed. Mirrored glass chips represent stars in the imagery.

This masterpiece of durable, low-maintenance public art is part of the airport museum’s extensive permanent collection. Among the numerous other artist-designed terrazzo floors at the airport are the NTMA terrazzo Jobs of the Year of 2013 and 2015, all Sky Train station platforms.


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