Close Approach - CODAworx

Close Approach

Client: DC Walnut Holdings, LLC

Location: Pasadena, CA, United States

Completion date: 2023

Artwork budget: $180,000

Project Team


Joseph O'Connell

Creative Machines

Vice President

Chrissy McMillan

Creative Machines

Project Manager

Alexandra Kirschbaum

Creative Machines


These sculptures of Jupiter and Io are a tribute to the Voyager mission and the culture of the 1970s that launched it. The spot where you are standing lies on a line directly connecting Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the institutions that designed and managed the mission. In 1977, Voyager I and II launched on missions of “close approach” to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and many of these planets’ moons. The first set of images to come back showed Jupiter in great detail; our largest planet, it is mostly swirling gas. Shortly afterward, data from Io revealed that it is the most volcanically active body in our solar system.

The Voyager mission had a cultural significance that went beyond scientific discovery. It was designed during the final years of the Vietnam war, during the Watergate scandal and amid cold war nuclear tensions. An important feature of the mission is that it would produce two spacecraft that would be the first human – made objects to leave our solar system. Some of the scientists on the project thought that it might be the last best thing that humanity would leave behind. It is likely that the Voyager spacecraft will continue traveling towards other stars for billions of years beyond the lifespan of our own earth.


Located in the Playhouse District and Economic Enterprise Zone, this mixed use building is intended to respond to the revitalized, contemporary vision for Pasadena’s Central District, which makes downtown housing a crucial component to the realization of a vibrant new urban core.

The building provides on the ground floor a 2,625 square-foot restaurant space with an 843 square foot outdoor dining area, and approximately 7,188 square feet of commercial retail/office space. Following closely the current evolution of downtown Pasadena into a thriving, walkable metropolitan center, the retail component with Walnut frontage will stimulate the street during all hours of the day. The goal for the public art was to become an immersive, site-responsive art environment that connected the history and future of Pasadena. We achieved this with Close Approach, consisting of the two suspended sculptures -a large planet inspired by Jupiter and a small moon inspired by Io- that slowly, revolve in the space with swirling light projections at night, a laser-cut metal screen, and an explanatory sign that describes the history of the Voyager mission and its connection to Pasadena.

Additional Information

Date: 2023 Location: MW Lofts in Pasadena, CA Dimensions: Jupiter is 96” in diameter, Io is 30” in diameter Medium: Stainless steel, glass spheres, electronics