School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumni, Jacob Hashimoto, designs 42-foot sculpture to inspire Tower community
EQ Office, the U.S. office portfolio company wholly-owned by Blackstone, has reopened Willis Tower‘s Wacker Drive lobby, featuring a new art installation created by artist Jacob Hashimoto. The lobby has been transformed into an open, light-filled entryway as part of Willis Tower’s more than $500 million renovation project, the biggest restorative transformation in the building’s 46-year history. While the lobby was closed for the past year during construction, it is now open and accessible to the public and building tenants.
The focal point of the new lobby is “In the Heart of this Infinite Particle of Galactic Dust, 2019,” a Hashimoto sculpture featuring a nearly 16-foot tall and 42-foot wide cloud built from nearly 7,000, nine-inch individual kite-like disks. The disks are strategically positioned to create the effect of a cloud-like, faceted mass. The kites appear to be undulating throughout the space by using varying lengths of string, and the graphics are printed on paper that is embedded into resin to create a stained glass-like disc that allows light to permeate.
“Office lobbies have historically been simply transitional spaces, and as tenant desires for workspaces have evolved, the purpose of the lobby has evolved as well,” said David Moore, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Director at EQ Office. “We are transforming the Willis Tower lobbies to be interactive, energized spaces that inspire curiosity for tenants and set the tone for the rest of the workplace experience. The dramatic work of art from Jacob Hashimoto will be a treasure for our building, a celebration of the City, and an embrace of the new neighborhood we’ve built at the Tower.”
EQ Office handpicked Hashimoto for this endeavor because he excels at creating works that connect with audiences and he has Chicago roots, having studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was during this time that Hashimoto developed a deep admiration for Chicago’s art and architecture, which made him the perfect person for the Willis Tower project. Hashimoto has been featured in solo museum exhibitions at MOCA Paciﬁc Design Center in Los Angeles, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Schauwerk Sindleﬁngen in Germany, among several others.
For the Willis Tower project, Hashimoto and his team created 3D models of the space and the art. Though technology played an integral role in the development of the piece, it was ultimately shaped by human experience in the final phase of installation. “In the Heart of this Infinite Particle of Galactic Dust, 2019” was intentionally designed to resonate with Willis Tower’s vast audience, as Hashimoto’s vision was to create a surprising experience for those seeing it for the first time. Regular lobby patrons, including the more than 15,000 building tenants, will constantly discover new facets of the piece with its rich texture, nuance and complexity.
“Willis Tower symbolizes the spirit of Chicago, and when the EQ Office team asked me to design a piece for the lobby, I was honored to play a role in the Tower’s transformation,” said artist Jacob Hashimoto. “This was both a thrilling and challenging installation because I wanted to create a piece that speaks to the people who work in Willis Tower, as well as the countless people who visit this landmark every day.”
As Willis Tower undergoes its transformation, EQ states it is dedicated to creating workspaces that inspire and engage tenants. Earlier this year, the building launched Art of the Neighborhood, a dynamic arts initiative that draws inspiration from Chicago’s creative energy to foster ongoing art programming throughout Willis Tower for tenants and visitors, and the unveiling of “In the Heart of this Infinite Particle of Galactic Dust, 2019” marks another milestone for the Tower’s art program. EQ worked with CNL Projects to commission the piece.
“In the Heart of this Infinite Particle of Galactic Dust, 2019” will be permanently on display in Willis Tower’s Wacker Drive lobby and is open to the public.
With the Wacker Drive Lobby opening, the Adams Street lobby will be closing for redevelopment. The Franklin Street lobby will remain open. You can follow along with the construction updates at Willis Tower here.