Interactive Display: Reflections Mobile in Portland

50’ x 20’ suspended mobile commissioned to hang in a vertical commercial atrium in downtown Portland, Oregon. A large-scale installation was requested but no floor space could be used due to pedestrian traffic. The reflective mobile is suspended from structural steel around the glass roof. Multiple 24”, 36”, and 48” mirrored spheres create a conical shape. Escalators allowed viewers to engage the artwork while moving next to it through the four levels of the building.

50’ x 20’ suspended mobile commissioned to hang in a vertical commercial atrium in downtown Portland, Oregon. A large-scale installation was requested but no floor space could be used due to pedestrian traffic. The reflective mobile is suspended from structural steel around the glass roof. Multiple 24”, 36”, and 48” mirrored spheres create a conical shape. Escalators allowed viewers to engage the artwork while moving next to it through the four levels of the building.

Riddles are inspiring to my design appetite. Reflections Mobile was commissioned to solve a creative placemaking riddle in urban Portland, Oregon. The client was in an aggressive rebranding campaign for one of Portlands busiest commuter and retail properties. The vision was to create a piece that brought new vibrancy to the place and included references to the people who populated the place daily and nightly. No floor space was available. To impact the space, a vertical solution felt right. Inclusion was the vibe I was after so mirrored surfaces proved to be a subtle but powerful way to include viewers and create an ever-changing element of interaction and a sense of literally becoming a part of the sculpture.

On our computer screens, the design emerged and was perfected. Only once the piece was installed were we able to confirm our hopes that escalators at various levels, the sunlight, and the 360-degree sight lines would deliver the impact we were after and marry the piece to the place. It was way more than we had anticipated! That felt really good. Solving the riddle added the vibrancy that all creative placemaking efforts aim for.

Reflections Mobile was received very well by the public. The client remains delighted with the commission and annually markets it as a must-see destination in Portland.


POST WRITTEN BY ED MANNER • APRIL 2015