Sky, merge conceptual design - CODAworx

Sky, merge conceptual design

Submitted by Merge Conceptual Design

Client: San Francisco Arts Commission

Location: San Francisco, USA

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $290,000

Project Team


Franka Diehnelt & Claudia Reisenberger

merge conceptual design

Art Consultant

Morgan Barnard

lighting program, electronics

Art Consultant

Brad Smith

structural engineer





Located in the waiting area at the end of Terminal 3 is Sky by Merge Conceptual Design comprised of the artist team Franka Diehnelt and Claudia Reisenberger. Sky is a suspended light sculpture comprised of 27 mirror-polished stainless steel spheres in varying sizes. The globes have circular openings oriented at various angles. The globes' interiors are painted an even matte blue, and illuminated by LED edge lighting that creates a soft interior glow. A computerized program causes the lights within the globes to brighten and dim at various intervals creating an ever changing pattern of light.


The installation explores the human perception of space. The exterior of the mirrored spheres use reflections to camouflage themselves in their surroundings; they reflect their environment, and distort and reproduce it in miniature. The optical effect caused by the blue interior and the edge lighting will cause the viewer to lose a sense of the spheres’ proportions as objects. Through subtle shifts in color and light intensity the space will become unreadable - both expanding and flattening at the same time.


We view input from many sources as a key component to creating engaging public art. As with all of our projects, ‘sky’ was a collaboration between many—from our terrific client, the SF Arts Commission to our fabricator, structural engineer and lighting designer. With site-specific works, especially those in a highly trafficked public space such as an airport, there are often concessions made to the restraints or practicalities of the environment. We were thrilled to have such support of our vision from all involved with this piece—and delighted to see it realized.

Additional Information

'Sky' was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission for the San Francisco International Airport Boarding Area E, Terminal 3.