Client: Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
Location: Downey, CA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $450,000
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
WRAPPED IN SUNBEAMS is a shade structure, in the shape of a barn, made of dichroic glass with an orange fruit weathervane on top. The dichroic glass barn creates a constantly changing image of soft pastel colors and shadows throughout the day that highlights the core themes of Rancho’s mission: “Movement and Transformation.” Beyond the visual and thematic connections to Rancho’s identity, WRAPPED IN SUNBEAMS provides a gathering space for the staff and residents that will live and work on-site. The functional sculpture is as much of a landmark as it is a site for socializing, finding shade, and a location to participate in Restorative Care Village outdoor activities.
The design of the public sculpture is a balance of the Center’s historical farming identity and its contemporary contributions to the field of rehabilitation medicine over the last 100 years.
The weather vane on top of the structure is in the shape of an orange with a green stem and two leaves and the title, WRAPPED IN SUNBEAMS, comes from an article in the Los Angeles Times, November 6, 1902 — “Poor Farm amid Orange Blossoms: “A poor farm in the midst of an orange grove...wrapped in sunbeams and wreathed with flower gardens, the Los Angeles County Poor Farm...transmitting the influence of its buoyancy into human hearts.”
Through countless interviews with patients and staff, this new public space aims to make a quiet, reflective, and aspirational piece of art that could “let your mind be at ease for a minute.” WRAPPED IN SUNBEAMS is a nod to Rancho’s farming history and its contemporary cutting-edge practices. The iconic physical form stems from the wooden barns on the property from when it was a citrus farm. The gabled ends of this barn are removed and the roof and walls are made of color-transforming dichroic glass. This dichroic glass allows the barn to be a welcoming light-filled destination for residents and their families to meet, and at the same time serve as a dynamic landmark on campus with colors and shadows shifting throughout the day, adding a sense of movement and transformation to the campus.
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center was founded in 1888 to serve farming families who could not afford medical services. Originally named "The County Poor Farm," proceeds from selling the oranges grown by the farm were used to provide needy families with medicine and services. By 1922, the facility had fully transitioned into a formalized medical facility, although farming operations would continue on the grounds. Currently, Rancho Los Amigos is now ranked among America's best hospitals in rehabilitation medicine and has pioneered numerous medical innovations and patented inventions that have transformed the field. WRAPPED IN SUNBEAMS has brought color, lightness, and healing energy to the lives of those going through extreme physical and mental transformations at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. It is an uplifting space that will be etched in people's hearts and minds while on their path to recovery, full of memories shared with friends and family who visit.