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Insights — Design Stories

Art & Culture at Nashville International Airport

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BNA Ticketing

With the transformation of Nashville International Airport (BNA) through the BNA® Vision, one of Corgan's key objectives was to enhance the overall passenger experience by reinforcing design themes developed early on in the design process with the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) – Sweet Home Nashville, Cumberland Forest, and Music City. These themes became the driving force in making design and experiential decisions throughout the facility, including several art and culture initiatives. In this article, I want to highlight the transformative role that art and culture play in enhancing the passenger experience at BNA and in creating a true sense of place.

BNA art installation

Celebrating Nashville's Vibrant Artistic Scene

Nashville is renowned for its thriving artistic community well beyond just it's reputation for music. BNA has a long history of bringing that spirit into the heart of BNA through their Arts at the Airport program, which curates diverse national, regional, and local artwork throughout the airport with everything from live music to sculpture and photography. Corgan worked with MNAA and the Arts at the Airport program to select new artworks and develop sense of place installations at key passenger touchpoints. These moments along the passenger journey aim to create an immersive and visually stimulating environment celebrating Nashville's vibrant culture.

BNA and Corgan wanted to provide passengers with a unique Nashville experience incorporating national and local artists and celebrating Nashville's cultural identity. The artworks at BNA reflect the city's diverse artistic landscape, paying homage to its musical heritage, natural beauty of the region, rich history, and warm sense of 'welcome’. These creative expressions create a sense of pride and make BNA a destination that immerses travelers in the soul of Music City.

BNA Terminal Core

Jacob Hashimoto's Captivating Art Installation

One of the standout art installations at BNA is the captivating artwork created by Jacob Hashimoto, "The Unscalable Rampart of Time." This stunning suspended sculpture engages the exterior glazing and skylight, creating an interplay between the natural light and the intricately woven washi paper kites featuring architecture, landmarks, and landscapes iconic to Nashville and the greater region. The installation serves as a visual spectacle, capturing the spirit of Nashville and making it a true focal point of the airport.

BNA Living Wall

Bridging Art & Nature

Another feature installation at BNA leveraging the grand interior architecture of the terminal are two large-scale green wall installations, each spanning nearly 1,100 square feet, on either side of these security checkpoint. Working directly with Garden on the Wall®, we challenged their graphic designers to develop concepts inspired by the forests and rivers of the Tennessee region utilizing their unique preserved foliage medium. The result spotlights two landmark bridges in the area – the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge - and subtlety nods back to the sound wave patterns in the flooring and roof form. These biophilic pieces provide passengers with access to nature as they navigate security and aim to remind passengers leaving Nashville of the variety of experiences the city has to offer.       

BNA Concessions

Fostering Connection and Engagement

We wanted to create moments of connection for passengers on their journey, whether they were connecting with a piece of artwork that resonated with them or capturing their experience to share with others through social media. At BNA, we wanted to challenge the notion that airports are purely functional spaces. The airport has been transformed into a gallery-like experience, where passengers can discover and engage with thought-provoking artworks throughout the terminal and concourses.

Art has the power to spark conversation and inspire dialogue. Integrating intentional, visually compelling pieces that directly tie to the city and surrounding areas creates an atmosphere where passengers can engage with the art and each other. These conversations and connections enrich the passenger experience and contribute to a more vibrant and culturally dynamic airport environment.

BNA Staircase

Sustaining Nashville's Cultural Legacy

BNA is often the first impression of a passenger visiting Nashville and the front door for those returning home. Art and cultural elements should not be merely superficial decorations but integral components that sustain Nashville's cultural legacy. By immersing passengers in Nashville's artistic scene and providing a platform for local and national artists, BNA becomes a living testament to the city's creative spirit.

Art and culture are essential in elevating the passenger experience at BNA. By curating diverse and engaging artworks, fostering connections, and celebrating Nashville's cultural identity, BNA has transformed into a destination that embraces art and sparks conversation. It leaves a lasting impression on every traveler passing through its gates. BNA has become more than just an airport; it is a cultural hub that reflects the vibrancy and soul of Music City.


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