Ripple - CODAworx


Submitted by Heath Satow

Client: Santa Monica Pavilion 1&2 LLC

Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $70,000

Project Team


Khoi Tran

Nadel Architects


Heath Satow

Heath Satow Sculpture

Public Art Agent

City of Los Angeles Arts Development Fee Program, Department of Cultural Affairs


Winner of the 2012 Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Award. Inspired by Karesansui (“Zen”) gardens, Ripple combes the directional “combing” of patterns with ripples emanating from three mirror-polished black granite spheres. 240 unique panels create the illusion of water rippling across the surface, with each 3/8″ thick aluminum panel (sanded sides, polished edges) set at a 45-degree angle to the wall.


This sculpture is an example of how a long, narrow space can be used for more than a mural. This is a fully-realized three-dimensional sculpture that creates a great deal of depth without crowding into the existing space. This project had unique challenges in the shape of the space. Located in what is essentially a hallway, the piece had to work as something you would experience as you passed by it, rather than just standing back and looking. This was addressed by creating a sculpture that changes visually as you move past it. Depending on the direction of approach, the work first looks somewhat flat, but as your sight-line changes, the polished edges come into view and the work "comes alive" with fluidity and motion in the reflections. The sculpture becomes an environmentally sensitive water feature: a water-wall without the need for water. The installation method was unique as well, with a unitized system that allowed for the entire installation to occur in just over day. ("Ripple" as described by


The architect had the guts to imagine more than a simple mural in this space. He approached me (the artist) with the following guidelines: 1) the sculpture should fit within less than a foot of indented wall space, and 2) there should be some reference for to the Japanese influences on the design of the building. After initial designs were presented, I worked with the architect to create the proper inset into the wall for the sculpture, and we collaborated on designing the frame that surrounds the piece.

Additional Information

Viewing the linked video is recommended. The piece really "comes alive" as people walk past the piece, activating the reflective surface. The motion in the space makes the surface feel like it is actively rippling.