Havana Lanterns - CODAworx

Havana Lanterns


Client: Denver County Jail

Location: Denver, CO, United States

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $190,000

Project Team


David Griggs

David Griggs LLC

Industry Resource

Silo Workshop

Silo Workshop


These illuminated sculptures are abstractions of lanterns, and they are installed on the side of Havana Street in front of the Denver County Jail. Made out of steel with LED lights that illuminate their “Lumicor” skin, they are 21' tall and spread out along 32' of landscaping. Their lights have multiple color-changing programs, illuminating the adjacent sidewalk and offering a vision of hope for area residents.


This sculptural installation resides in a buffer zone between Havana Street and the Denver County Jail. The Jail is a temporary incarceration facility, housing inmates with minor infractions for no longer than 30 days. As such, the sculpture is viewed by many people transitioning through the criminal justice system, along with the many people who drive by on this busy street. The idea of "lanterns" is common throughout many countries and cultures. Almost universally, lanterns are recognized as symbols for hope, bringing illumination to our surroundings. These lanterns are abstractions of traditional Japanese garden lanterns, lighting the way along garden paths. For all of the people who transition through the County Jail, and for all of the people who drive by these bright sculptures, "Havana Lanterns" is meant to remind them that circumstances change, and that the future can be filled with hope.


"Havana Lanterns" was designed specifically for the audience that would be viewing it in the vicinity of the Denver County Jail. As a result of multiple meetings with committee members the piece was designed to appeal to this unique audience.