CYPRESS PARK — Drivers circling the still-under-construction roundabout near the Home Depot have noticed the arrival of giant crates and egg-shaped forms rising from the center of the dirt-filled traffic circle. What’s going on? Prepare yourself for the city’s newest public artwork.
The Riverside Roundabout artwork will consist of nine stone sculptures, ranging from 8- to 12-feet in height, said a posting on the website of Greenmeme, the Cypress Park-based art studio of Freyja Bardell and Brian Howe. A large opening on the side of the egg-shaped pieces will reveal the face of a person selected at random from the community. 3D scans of the faces were used to cut the stone.
The 100-foot-wide roundabout, located near the north end of the new Riverside-Figueroa bridge, will be landscaped with plants found in the Los Angeles River and store stormwater runoff in an underground, 25,000 gallon cistern.
Though the artwork has recently begun to emerge in public view, the sculptures of the Riverside Roundabout have been in the works for eight years. The L.A. Weekly says that the Riverside Roundabout is Bardell and Howe’s “most anticipated” project in Los Angeles. “The stone for the sculptures is being quarried just outside of Yosemite, and the sculptures will serve as both gateway guardians to the community and a time-stamp of the neighborhood’s demographics,” said the Weekly.
The roundabout itself is one of several projects intended to improve an isolated area cut off from the rest of Cypress Park by the 5 Freeway and from Lincoln Heights by the Arroyo Seco Freeway and river channel. The roundabout will be next to a plaza with a computer-controlled fountain and near parkland that is planned for the area around the confluence of the Arroyo Seco and Los Angeles River.
No word yet on when the artwork will be completed.
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