2015

LUCENT

WOLFGANG BUTTRESS

3,115 HAND BLOWN GLASS ORBS AND STAINLESS STEEL FILIGREE

HANCOCK CENTER, CHICAGO, IL

CURATOR:

SUSAN AURINKO

CLIENT:

HEARN

PROJECT PARTNERS:

IGNITE GLASS STUDIOS, THE FOUNTAIN WORKSHOP, AND UNIVERSAL FIBER OPTICS

Lucent is the first major permanent artwork in the U.S. by Wolfgang Buttress. Conceived as the lobby centerpiece, it was meant to beautify the space and create a landmark destination within the iconic John Hancock Center in Chicago. Deriving its name from the Latin ‘to shine’, this sculptural installation is based on a star map.

The work constitutes a 4 meter diameter hemisphere perforated with 3,115 holes representing the stars visible with the naked eye from Earth’s Northern hemisphere. Fiber optic cables emerge from each point, emitting a pulsating, glowing ambient light. Affixed to these points are small hand-blown glass orbs that diffuse the light.  These points are triangulated, creating a delicate stainless steel filigree. The Southern hemisphere is suggested in the ceiling reflection and a sense of infinity is implied by the double reflection of water and mirrored polished steel. To ensure Lucent’s accuracy Buttress once again worked with astrophysicist Dr. Daniel Bayliss (Australian National University).