Cool Park Bro

L.A.’s Grand Park gets new paper airplane–shaped shade structure

Art City Terrain West
View of installed Paper Planes canopy. (Courtesy Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)
View of installed Paper Planes canopy. (Courtesy Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Downtown Los Angeles has a new public park art piece and shaped like paper airplanes. Big ones.

The new, semi-permanent shade canopy installation, Paper Airplane, consists of a steel armature-supported canopy populated by eleven large-scale “paper” airplanes made out of canvas. The piece was designed by local artists Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff. Located in Grand Park, itself designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios in 2012 to much fanfare, the installation marks the latest addition to the city’s public space boom. Dubbed by city officials as “The Park for Everyone,” Grand Park spans the blocks between the steps of City Hall and those of the Music Center and Disney Concert Hall complexes; it sees roughly one million visitors each year.

Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, and Lucas Rivera, director, Grand Park, installing the installation's final airplane piece into place (Courtesy Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, and Lucas Rivera, director, Grand Park, putting the installation’s final airplane piece into place (Courtesy Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

The installation is the by-product of A Cooler Grand Park, a semi-public design competition held by the Music Center concert hall that sought to bring additional shading to the park’s Olive Court which spans between the Los Angeles Chief Administration Office and the Los Angeles Courthouse. Paper Airplane runs the length of the broad promenade between the two buildings and also acts as the edge of a fountain and splash pad area popular with children. 

Rendering of proposed Paper Planes canopy (Courtesy The Music Center)

Rendering of proposed Paper Planes canopy (Courtesy The Music Center)

For the competition, the Music Center invited local visual artists with at least three years of experience working in their field to submit designs for a new installation. The winning proposal by Torres and Sherriff was selected via public vote with input also provided by a selection committee organized by the center. Construction and installation of the project were funded by Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA 2050 Grants Challenge, a prolific public arts program in the city.

The installation adds to a banner year for parks in L.A, with recent months also seeing the selection of design teams for two new Downtown L.A. parks as well as stretches of the Los Angeles River redevelopment. The city’s Bureau of Engineering revealed in June its choice of Mia Lehrer Associates and OMA as the design team for the new Grand Park-adjacent FaB Park at the corner of First and Broadway. In April, Pershing Square Renew selected a proposal from French landscape architecture firm Agence Ter and local landscape architects SALT for the latest iteration of Pershing Square. Lehrer’s office was also selected this summer in conjunction with architecture firms Gruen Associates and Oyler Wu Collaborative to work on a 12-mile bike path along the L.A. River in the San Fernando Valley.

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