To achieve his vision for the libraries, architect David Milling invited the collaboration of sculptor-in-light Michael Hayden after seeing him interviewed on the discovery Channel.
Together, Milling and Hayden created ways to use sunshine to illuminate and delight. Through Milling’s designs, Hayden’s materials and sculptures, and the work artisans and fabricators, glints of rainbows glimmer in all five buildings.
Artist Michael Hayden charts unknown waters. Hayden likens his pieces to a musical performance. In an interview for the Kalamazoo Gazette, he described himself as a composer who must rely on the ability of the best ‘musicians’ to realize his work. Working with neon, fiber optics, and holographic diffraction, his designs challenge fabricators to devise materials and methods to execute his work.
Hayden has exhibited and installed his sculptures throughout the world. At O'Hare airport, his 800-foot-long Sky's the Limit enchants travelers passing through the United Air terminal.
In Kalamazoo, Hayden worked with library architect David Milling to integrate architecture and art from the beginning of the design process. Milling invited Hayden to help him create libraries with charismatic presence, through buildings that beckon a visitor to enter, to linger, and to return.
Hayden energized the Powell Branch Library by applying holographic film to the barrel-vaulted skylight. The film casts glints of color throughout the library while it reduces transmission of ultraviolet and infrared rays.
Eastwood Branch features Hayden's box-kite sculpture Prismatic Lantern over the circulation desk and holographic glazed glass surrounding the entrance door.
Excalibur, a holographic spire, soars to a pyramid-shaped skylight at Oshtemo while Time Bender, a mock sundial of geometric shapes, glows in the courtyard.
Hayden created luminous shades for the 52 original wrought-iron wall sconces at the Washington Square Branch. Their gentle gleam complements the original 1927 English Arts and Crafts style.
A holographic collar defines the skylight crowning the central library's neoclassical rotunda. Bands of color wash the dome and Electrolier, a canopy of gray aluminum blades and cobalt blue panes, in a continually changing display of refracted sunlight.
Michael Hayden may be contacted at Thinking Lightly, Inc., Santa Rosa, California.