Flight Wave


Client: Indianapolis Airport Authority

Completed: 2008

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana United States

Artwork Budget: $100,000


Mary Jo Bayliss

Architectural Glass Art, Inc.

Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc.

Blackburn Architects

Hunt Construction


“Flight Wave” is a 125 feet long glass wall that separates passengers from a security area at the Indianapolis International Airport. Over two hundred attached dichroic glass chevrons hover in flight patterns on either side of the wall. Light bounces off them activating corridors with colored light on the floor, ceiling, and passers by. The chevrons, like arrows pointing the way, direct viewers’ eyes through the composition, their shapes subtly relating to each other in space. As passengers walk the length of the wall, the artwork comes to life. Colors, light and shapes seem to dance in space.


The owner wanted the artwork to promote a sense of wellbeing and calm for passengers processing through security and getting ready for flight. The Bayliss’ solution, “Flight Wave” depicts the joy and feeling of freedom people experience when thinking of things that fly. Their artwork is a vibrant, multi-colored composition that uses light, space and implied movement.


Selected out of an entry field of over 500 international applicants, husband and wife team Arlon and Mary Jo Bayliss partnered with Blackburn Architects, who served as owners representative for the project and Architectural Glass Art, who constructed and installed the chevrons. The Bayliss team designed the glass elements’ shapes and composition, as well as specifying all aspects of lighting. They transferred the layout for the composition directly onto the wall, making final adjustments in response to the site before supervising all installation aspects. Steeply angled light from metal halide fixtures bounces off the chevrons. The chevrons’ angles and installation height carefully take into consideration maintenance and safely.


The artists drew inspiration from paper airplanes and Japanese origami cranes, both abstractions of things that fly. They also studied flocks of birds in flight. The choice of dichroic glass in the chevrons ensures two distinctly different qualities: During daytime transparent colors are most evident, at nighttime, a host of gem-like metallic colors. “Flight Wave” is one of the most popular artworks in the airport, and attracts a good deal of public praise.