Terns, She Said - CODAworx

Terns, She Said

Client: Hotel Del Coronado

Location: Coronado, CA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $12,000

Project Team


James Aarons

James Aarons

Art Consultant, Direction

Sally Faulkner

Faulkner + Locke


In a high flying world, take flight. What does one do with a vaulted atrium capped by a glass ceiling? When the client requests a flock of birds, we make birds to soar to through the space, elevating and grounding at once. Teamed with Faulkner + Locke of Atlanta, our challenge was defying gravity with ceramic terns, each one poised and suspended by fly lines varying in length to about twenty feet. The elegance of the hotel and complexity of the space necessitated a contemporary approach utilizing simplicity, directness, and understated sophistication. In keeping with their true to life siblings, we chose white for our flock and used 22K gold accents, adding reflective flourishes and warmth. The engineering necessitated weight limits; we scaled each bird to be about one third adult size. This suited both our physical challenges and the visual balance of the space. Terns fly singly and in small flocks. Ours gather in a small flock, ready guests for an impromptu cocktail party in the iconic Del Coronado.


We were charged with creating a suspended sculpture that would draw interest from multiple vantage points in a vaulted atrium defined by guest balconies, an elevator shaft and a glass ceiling.


Each of the birds was hand sculpted, balanced and finished in our ceramic studio. Faulkner + Locke managed the logistics, led the engineering team, and determined the final layout.