“Underwater Canopy” by artist Carl Cheng has been installed at the new Santa Monica Main Public Library, which is now under construction on the site of the old library at Sixth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.
The site-specific steel and glass structure is over 30 feet in diameter and hovers more than 11 feet above the café in the outdoor courtyard.
Santa Monica artist Cheng said that the “shadow canopy… is inspired by the marine life in the Santa Monica Bay,” and, when it is complete, seven circular skylights mounted on the canopy will feature “transparent images depicting underwater scenery as if the café is underwater. One small skylight shows a recent (1996) sonar map of the actual Bay topography.”
Cheng was chosen as the Main Library project artist from a field of 54 California artists through the Santa Monica Arts Commission’s juried selection process. Cheng has won several previous public art commissions around the United States, including 1988’s “Santa Monica Art Tool: Walk on L.A.,” a cast concrete and steel sculpture that resides on the beach north of the Santa Monica Pier.
He has also had numerous exhibitions, and won a number of grants, fellowships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Getty, and the Flintridge Foundation.
“Underwater Canopy” is a project of the City of Santa Monica’s public art program and was developed through a collaborative process with the Main Library architects Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners and the landscape architect for the project, Pamela Burton & Company, both of Santa Monica.