Artist Bryan Valenzuela’s “Multitudes Converge” Now Complete at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center

October 24, 2016


Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture with Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers consulted on design and installation of 400 glass sphere suspended artwork

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Installation of “Multitudes Converge” a suspended sculpture of 400 hand-blown glass spheres is now complete at the newly opened Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. The sculpture hangs 40 feet above the lobby level of the city’s new 17,500-seat entertainment and sports arena. Valenzuela contracted with Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture as the consulting architect for the installation. “Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture’s role was integral in helping me translate my original drawings and maquettes into tangible renderings and the final 3D designs. With their help, I was able to materialize my vision and present it to others with clarity,” said Valenzuela.

The sculpture occupies 1,500 square feet of air space, located at the arena’s southwest entry. It is viewed by thousands as they enter and exit the arena via the facility’s primary escalators. Jason A. Silva, AIA, LEED AP, design principal at D+B and the project’s architect, said, “Bryan had an idea for what the piece would be in both material and form, and came to us to help him realize and execute it.”

Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc., designed a support structure to stabilize the glass spheres for self-weight, and prevent them from colliding with each other or the building during a seismic event. “Jason Horwedel and David Hutchinson of Buehler & Buehler, gave the engineering backbone to a really complicated hanging piece,” said Valenzuela. “Our collaboration combined ideas brainstormed with architects at Dreyfuss + Blackford to realize the most stable and safest way to hang a puzzle of glass, steel and cable of this scale,” he said.

“Multitudes Converge” is one of a several pieces commissioned by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commissions for Golden 1 Center. Golden1 Center was designed by AECOM.

Design of the Sculpture

The design of the piece is an abstraction of the two rivers that converge in Sacramento. The sculpture includes 400 glass spheres ranging in size from 12-20 inches in diameter, hanging from the ceiling of the main lobby entrance, through all three levels and viewable from balconies surrounding the piece. Individually, the spheres range in weight from 11-16lbs and are strung in groups like pearls along 109 curving stainless steel splines attached to the ceiling by 1/8″ steel cables. Each spline is supported by two to five cables and has from three to eight spheres attached in three different size configurations (30cm, 40cm, and 50cm). The three color families of greens, blues, and violets, evoke different colors of water and mix with glints of metallic gold, reminiscent of the gold rush in the region.

Fabrication of the Sculpture

To advise in the six-week glass fabrication process, Valenzuela traveled to the Mayer of Munich studio in Germany where he discovered a factory outside of Prague, Czech Republic, that specialized in blown glass. There they perfected the glass design in a series of samples. “We experimented with several sizes and color palettes, finally narrowing down the spectrum,” he said.

Five months later, the spheres were shipped back to Sacramento by plane to Valenzuela’s warehouse. In his warehouse space, Valenzuela unpacked and assembled all the spheres into transportable sections brought over to the Golden 1 Center site in preparation for installation. “The piece will be viewable from a large window inside Golden 1 Center, with the sunset cascading light through it. By using colored glass, I knew the light of the dying day would spill colored reflections and shadows throughout the space, creating an ever-changing, meditative piece,” he added. “The two firms together really made this a reality,” said Valenzuela.

Installation of the Sculpture

The sculpture was installed by Valenzuela with a crew of three art handlers in Golden 1 Center’s main escalator well. The total weight of the piece is approximately 8,000lbs and it required different lifts and a cradle system to raise each section to the specified elevation. Valenzuela became certified in scissor- and boom-lift operation as part of the installation process, which took two weeks to complete.

Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture

Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, founded in 1950 in Sacramento, Calif., with an office in San Francisco, is a mid-size firm headquartered in the State capital. The firm serves corporate, public and institutional markets with solutions achieved through collaboration and innovation. Committed to a sustainable future, D+B brings expertise in architecture, master planning, interiors, graphic design, and construction services. Recently completed projects include The Shop at VSP Global, CLARA Midtown – E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts, and Yolo County Woodland Superior Courthouse.

Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc.

For over 70 years, Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc. (B&B) has developed practical, economical structural engineering solutions utilizing expert implementation of conventional and performance-based design techniques. Headquartered in Sacramento, B&B is a 65-person firm with offices in Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Whether a project is a new design, a tenant improvement, an existing building evaluation or seismic retrofit and renovation, B&B takes an integrated approach to project delivery utilizing Lean Construction principles and performance-based design, optimizing efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction. Recent projects include the Golden 1 Center, Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 5 Redevelopment, and San Francisco International Airport Long-Term Parking Structure No. 2.

Artist Bryan Valenzuela

Northern California artist Bryan Valenzuela lives and works in Sacramento. For over a decade he’s been aiming to perfect a unique drawing technique involving the atomization of the figure by carving out shape and light with handwritten text. Though virtually unnoticeable from afar, once the viewer steps closer to each work they are engulfed in a barrage of words intermingled with other mixed-media elements such as needle and thread, acrylic paint, and collage. Recent winner of both the Leff-Davis Fund for Visual Artists and a Best in Show prize at the 2015 California State Fair Fine Art Exhibition, Valenzuela was chosen by the City of Sacramento in 2016 to create a large-scale public art piece for the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. When not working in the studio, he’s composing and recording music, performing and touring with the band Exquisite Corps.

Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is a public agency devoted to supporting, promoting and advancing the arts in the region.  Funded by the Sacramento City and County, the Arts Commission provides funding to local artists and arts groups; promotes the arts through marketing, outreach and education initiatives; provides resources to support and increase regional arts education activities; and serves as a community partner and resource.

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