The first few days – even the first few moments provided a clue. One evening, a few weeks ago my fabricator, Bob Buchanan of bo-mar Industries and I stood underneath our freshly minted sculpture for the City of Carmel, Indiana. We were checking everything was hooked up and taking our first photos, when it started – drivers and passengers leaned out of their windows shouting, “It’s beautiful!” and “I love it!” Others slowed down or parked to get a closer look. And this has continued, in the days and weeks since our installation was complete, whenever we are out there taking photos or showing the work to clients, we hear more spontaneous expressions of appreciation. Of course, immediate, positive feedback like this is enormously gratifying. If Beacon Bloom continues to be popular or better yet, loved – it will be because it works on several levels.
Making sculpture for roundabouts art offers particular challenges and opportunities. This project was commissioned by a city that is proudly home to more roundabouts than any other in the USA. It needed help with one in particular that from some approaches is hard to see. Beacon Bloom does that – and more. At thirty-two feet, it’s visible from over two miles away, yet it manages to also be visually subtle. It marks a motoring gateway to the city with an expression of a vibrant, growing community. As motorists pass, the sculpture becomes animated; its undulating curved stems and delicately lit flower forms seem to move. It’s at home because the form and composition relate to trees and plantings in the surrounding landscape. Last but not least, it’s environmentally responsible. Altogether, its seven hundred and sixty eight LED lights use less electricity than a can opener.
Beacon Bloom is located at Westfield Boulevard and 96th Street in Carmel, Indiana
Beacon Bloom: Form Three blossoming flower-like forms facing northeast, northwest and south, sit atop sinuously curved tubular steel stems. Each made of stainless steel; the tallest reaches over thirty feet high. At night, LEDs and dichroic glass filters illuminate seven hundred and sixty eight stainless steel ribbon florets. Together they consume only a hundred and thirty five watts. By day, the large flower forms visually compliment and connect the roundabout with nearby trees and landscape. Their undulating stems seem to dance when viewed from a vehicle passing by. As dusk approaches, the delicately lit sculpture is visible from over a mile away. It’s colors remind viewers of sparkling diamonds and fireworks frozen in time.
Beacon Bloom: Function The client required a sculpture to mark a roundabout that from some approaches is hard to see. We also wanted it to serve as a beacon, announcing an entrance to the city with expression of hope and progress. It’s my hope the sculpture will in time also become an icon, or emblem, embraced by residents, as part of the city’s visual identity.