Hayden’s Sculpture to Shine Again in L.A.’s Jewelry District


Michael Hayden’s critically acclaimed 270-foot light sculpture “Generators of the Cylinder” will be re-lit Thursday in downtown L.A.’s jewelry district for the first time since 2008.

Hayden’s piece originally debuted in 1981 at the Los Angeles International Jewelry Center, a 16-story shopping mall for jewelry across from Pershing square. Jewelry Center architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill commissioned the work with developer Cabot Cabot & Forbes.

Hayden, who became a household name when he created the now-iconic neon sculpture in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, created “Cylinders” to be used with a hidden computer and infrared sensors that reflect the movements of people walking by, turning them into rainbow swirls of light.

The sculpture is considered to be one of the first large-scale works of public art to use holography. Los Angeles Times architecture critic John Dreyfus wrote fondly of it in 1981, despite his loathing of the building to which it is affixed.

“All that saves the building from almost total offensiveness is a remarkably beautiful and exciting neon light sculpture by Michael Hayden,” Dreyfus wrote, naming the statue “the jewelry center’s saving grace.”

For the sculpture’s resurrection, the building’s owners hired Michael Grosswendt of All Coast Construction. Grosswendt selected specialty fabricator Damion Gardner of Damion Gardner Designs to disassemble, clean and reassemble Hayden’s work.

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