After Years in the Dark, Celebrated Kinetic Neon Sculpture to Re-illuminate the New Year in Downtown Los Angeles

Generators4cropped-Photo Courtesy of Michael Hayden

Generators of the Cylinder 1982, Michael Hayden 270′ x 11′, Cylinders: 4′ x 4′ x 2′ Infrared sensors, holographically etched polycarbonate, stainless steel panels and neon lights

(Los Angeles, CA) On Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 an ultra-bright neon rainbow will light up and set in motion the new year in Los Angeles’ downtown jewelry district at Pershing Square. Michael Hayden’s iconic light sculpture, “Generators of the Cylinder” will be re-lit for the first time in nearly a decade during a special ceremony at the International Jewelry Center from 4 to 6pm. The refurbishment of the sculpture represents a glowing outlook for public art in downtown Los Angeles. Hayden is one of the world’s most sophisticated light artists, famous for transforming corridors with neon light, most notably the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony.


The critically acclaimed overhead neon sculpture is a 270-foot-long chain of holographically etched polycarbonate semi-cylinders that are informed by infrared sensors and a hidden computer. The result is a light show in which pedestrians see their movements reflected back to them in green, yellow, blue, orange, pink, purple and red flashes and swirls. It is best experienced when walking underneath, and can also be seen from Pershing Square, which is directly across the street.

image003 - cropped

Original grand opening (1982)

“Aesthetically, the beautiful, fascinating and dazzling sculpture will be the jewelry center’s saving grace,” wrote Los Angeles Times architecture and design critic John Dreyfuss when the building, and this developer-initiated sculpture, debuted in 1982. Architecture writer Michael Webb wrote, “Hayden…turned a pedestrian arcade into a computer-animated light show that is as exhilarating as fireworks on the Fourth of July.”

“The greatest challenge in keeping the sculpture in light, in Downtown Los Angeles, is less about keeping it functional and more about keeping it decontaminated from airborne detritus,” says Hayden.

Last fall, builder Michael Grosswendt of All Coast Construction was hired by the building’s owner to resurrect the sculpture to exacting original specifications. Grosswendt tapped specialty fabricator Damion Gardner of Damion Gardner (DG) Designs to disassemble the stainless, plastic, neon and computer driven components for cleaning and reassembly. Gardner, incidentally a current USAC/CRA Sprint Car Champion says, “We are building with precision, going slow and taking our time to make it perfect.”

Artwork location:
Los Angeles International Jewelry Center
550 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Near Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles’ Historic Core

Artist Michael Hayden
For more than four decades, Michael Hayden has utilized and manipulated light in architectonic scaled sculptures. Works by Hayden are in the public collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Museum of Neon Art, Glendale; the Van Abba Museum, Eindhoven, Holland and the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland. The artist resides in Santa Rosa, California with his wife, Kristina Lucas, also a sculptor.

Builder Michael Grosswendt / All Coast Construction
As Los Angeles’ premier residential builder, Michael Grosswendt is the expert when it comes to building and restoring architecturally significant properties. He is the builder of choice for an A-list clientele, including top Hollywood luminaries and America’s leading art collectors. Known for giving meticulous attention to both new construction and restoration of homes by noted architects including A. Quincy Jones, Ray Kappe, and Wallace Neff, Grosswendt is a visionary homebuilder celebrating two decades in the industry this year. Grosswendt is a collaborator with both the Architecture + Design Museum of Los Angeles and the Institute for Classical Architecture and Art.

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