Liquid Shard - CODAworx

Liquid Shard

Submitted by Patrick Shearn


Client: Downtown LA

Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Project Team


Architectural Association School of Architecture


Patrick Shearn

Poetic Kinetics


Liquid Shard is a large-scale sculpture that is made out of holographic mylar and monofilament installed across Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. The work spans 15,000 sq ft. The piece is comprised of two layers that rise from 15 feet off the ground to 115 feet in the air.


“The inspiration comes from observing nature and the feeling that we are only aware on a very surface level of what is really going on around us. Unexpected things are revealed in time-lapse or hyper-spectrum photography that fascinates me. Like fractals recurring progressively, we feel the currents of air on our skin but do not see the larger movements. I wanted to play in that realm with Liquid Shard.”- Patrick Shearn.

As the center square for downtown Los Angeles, this work was created specifically for Pershing Square, to be viewed both from the ground perspective looking up to the sky and from the offices surrounding, looking down. This project allows viewers to slow down, and observe the wind slowly undulating and transforming this piece, similar to watching clouds or observing the slow mesmerizing motions of sea flora; Liquid Shard is a magnified living form and mirror to the wind patterns. The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, as the contrast of the slow/simple rhythm of this artwork to the hustle and bustle of downtown adds something unique and positive to the urban environment.


Now Art LA secured Pershing Square, making the display of the project possible while Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics had the privilege of designing this piece specific for this site with the students of Architectural Association's Visiting School. International architecture students from a diverse range of countries were invited to PK’s studio in Los Angeles to explore how to engage the downtown site with the movement and material. The students supported the installation process and were able to follow and observe the creation of this public art piece from its inception to exhibition.

Additional Information

Liquid Shard has inspired other clients, as the streamers can be made from colored and fuse-cut, ripstop nylon (to handle the force of the wind over time) instead of the traditional mylar strips, as in the original Liquid Shard. This simple modification in materials allows our clients to create their own living "skynets," which are specific to their community's heart and soul.