Water Rights Sculpture - CODAworx

Water Rights Sculpture

Client: Adrien Segal

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team


Adrien Segal

Industry Resource

Gizmo Art Production Inc.


Adrien Segal designed and Gizmo Art Production fabricated and installed this suspended sculpture, spanning three stories above two diagonal stairways. Over 10,000 feet of ball chain is draped above and around the stairways, hung as a meandering aluminum river, following the flow of movement and people in the space. The sculpture is a physical representation of 1,072 water users. Length of chain correlates to amount of water. People walk through and experience the sculpture to gain an intuitive understanding of the immense amount of water allocated for use in California.The permanent installation is 30’ high and spans the 16’x32’ opening.


This project would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of many different people. The design was developed from proposal to realization in just under 18 months, and involved the artist (Adrien Segal), the art consultant (Heidi Mcbride), the client, the building contractor, the site manager, the engineering firm, and the fabrication and installation team at Gizmo Art Production.


Adrien Segal proposed California Water Rights to the client and developed the design using data from the agency that regulates water rights users in California. To realize the large-scale piece, Adrien hired Gizmo Art Production to fabricate and install the hanging sculpture. The aluminum river panels were water jet cut and welded together, with holes from which the ball chain was hung in a particular order. The sculpture was hung from a truss system at Gizmo’s shop where Adrien and Gizmo’s team hung over 1,000 individual chain strands by hand.

Additional Information

The tricky part was figuring out the best way to install the sculpture since it is suspended above three stories of an open staircase with a glass railing. Gizmo came up with a plan to make a stage system that would be engineered to clear the glass railing and cross over the opening so that the installers could access the bolting locations. The longest chain was lowered down through the stairway opening first, and the platform was incrementally removed to allow the rest of the chain to drape down in various lengths around the stairs.