José Parlá for One World Trade Center

Standing 1,776 feet and 104 storeys high, One World Trade Center opened its doors in Manhattan this month after 13 years of construction costing $3.9 billion. One of the many sensitive choices relating to a building was the selection of the art that adorns the lobby walls.

The building’s developers, the Durst Organisation, assigned the choice to Asher Edelman and his New York-based gallery, Edelman Arts. Edelman, a financier, was supposedly one of the inspirations behind the character of Gordon Gekko from the film "Wall Street". Now he's closely involved with the art world, and was chosen by Durst on the grounds that his curatorial selections would be a "fitting compliment to the public space in the building"—surely the least one would hope for.

His team decided that any work hung in One World Trade Center should be abstract. Step in José Parlá, a Brooklyn-based artist who was the perfect choice to create an abstract, meaningful mural for the building's entrance.

Parlá worked on the mural for about eight months in his studio and then for two weeks on site. He wants the colourful, jewel-toned piece – which is covered in his signature, graffiti-style script and titled “ONE: Union of the Senses” – to stand as a symbol of diversity. “It was very important to me that this painting would reflect a massive respect to the situation and event and the families, and a massive respect for the site,” he said.

Photography by Rey & José Parlá
Via José Parlá's website