In addition to Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart and Dale Chihuly speaking at the podium, Space Needle Chairman Jeff Wright also spoke.
"Legacy is an important word in Seattle," Wright said. "We've always been a community of families that have helped each other. We are standing in a room that my father built, and I can remember riding up and down the elevator as a child..."
The Space Needle was famously designed on a cocktail napkin; Chihuly "sketched out the initial elements of the experience on a regular sheet of paper," Wright joked.
"We will be home to a new kind of art that is shaking the world," Wright declared. "And we've got the best right here in our backyard."
After the presentation, and after Chihuly and Wright left, reporters were permitted to ask questions of the remaining players. I spent the time with architect Owen Richards, whose office designed the plans. He confirmed that most all the art—and this makes sense since it's glass; the entire center will be behind a fence intended to be "porous," he said—would require paid admission.
He made a case for why he believes a Chihuly center fits Seattle Center.
"What's rich about Seattle Center is this variety of experience," Richards said. (It's only in typing these quotes that I realize both men used the word 'experience'—didn't anyone tell them not to use the E word, as in EMP?)
"This would be an intimate experience that's actually more a companion to the mural stage, rather than just replicating Broad Street green," Richards said. "Just creating big, open, undifferentiated spaces is not going to make Seattle Center better."
My favorite part of what Chihuly talked about? The dining area of the center would include a display of Chihuly's own personal collections, which range from vintage hand-colored postcards to Indian baskets to furniture and masks. His collections are AMAZING; I once got a glimpse.