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Year in Review — A Look Back at 2018

2018 has been a great year for Creative Machines! We have installed our public art pieces in extraordinary cities around the country, begun sculpture and exhibit projects for awesome new clients from all over, and have strived to create fresh pieces that push the boundaries of what we have done in the past. Here are some photographic highlights from our projects that dominated 2018!


Camaraderie is a series of three monumental sculptures nestled outside a veteran’s clinic in San Jose, CA. The piece was inspired by the strong sense of camaraderie found among the members of the United States Armed Forces. The sculpture integrates words collected from veterans to tell their exceptional stories of friendship and solidarity.

Body Politic is a series of two spherical sculptures set slightly into the landscape of the Lenexa Rec Center in Lenexa, Kansas. The sculptures celebrate all walks of life with silhouettes of human-forms laser-cut into the stainless steel surface.

City of Stars is a series of emerging stainless steel stars laser-cut with intricate grape leaf details and filled with colorful LED lighting. This playful sculpture represents the city of Grapevine, Texas and was installed at the entrance of the city recreation center.

Elements is a stainless steel teardrop composed of bands with the word “elements” in English, Mandarin, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Hindi, German, French, and Vietnamese. The sculpture operates at a distance as a monumental form but also rewards close scrutiny over many visits thereby maximizing the potential for interaction and discovery.

Growing Home is our most recently installed sculpture! The massive stainless steel shell tells the history of San Diego through perforations into the metal surface. The sculpture was just installed in Park 12 near Petco Park! 

In Progress

We currently have an exciting project in the works for Camelback Commons in Phoenix, Arizona. This monumental sculpture composed of larger-than-life leaves will be suspended in an outdoor atrium and will gracefully rotate within the space.

Wet Wheel is a fun project we have in the workshop for our hometown of Tucson, Arizona. This massive bike wheel will straddle a portion of a mixed-use path like a gateway. The spokes are absent except when a cyclist rides through, water jets will then appear in the place of spokes and give the rider an approximately one-second burst of water. The runoff from the sculpture can be used to grow native vegetation around the space.

Ball Machines

Newton’s Convergence is a large, two-chamber ball machine made for The Franklin Institute, one of the oldest and most beloved science museums in the US located in Philidelphia, PA. The sculpture replaced the long-standing and well-loved Newton’s Dream ball machine originally installed in 1990.

Cathedral Coaster is a ball machine commissioned by American Memorial Hospital, a hospital located in Reims, France that specializes in pediatric medicine. This playful machine celebrates the rich history of the region with a depiction of Reims Cathedral integrated into the structure among many whimsical elements.

We had the opportunity to refurbish an older rolling ball sculpture titled Iron Man. This ball machine demonstrates systems of the human body.

Our most recently completed ball machine made its debut at Kidney Week 2018 and is titled Perpetual Nephron Machine. This machine is designed to describe the process of uric acid removal in patients with CKD and gout using the drug Krystexxa.

In Progress

We currently have a ball machine in progress for Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles, California. This interactive machine features a brand new playful design that we are certain will delight audiences of all ages. Here are some photos of the ball machine fabrication team building the intricate sculpture. 

Interactive Exhibits

Marble Wall is a hanging, back-lit array of colored marbles on a metal grid. As visitors run their hands across the marble array, they will feel and hear the marbles spin, creating a unique visual and tactile experience.

This year we build a custom racing exhibit called Bicycle Generator for the Toronto Public Library. This exhibit allows kids to pedal a bicycle or turn a pair of hand cranks to generate electricity on two WeWatt stations. As each side races against the other, a column of colorful LED lights begins to fill up the digital scoreboard in front of the players, signaling who is in the lead.

Look back at past Bicycle Generator blog posts: Making of Bicycle GeneratorKids Testing Bicycle Generator

This year we were busy building an array of exhibits for the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exhibits are a part of the museum’s brand new River Alive! attraction; a 4,000 square foot exhibition which opened this fall. River Alive! focuses on the wonders and challenges of the Delaware River watershed, the region’s place within that system, and the sophisticated science used to understand the complex nature of the waterways.

We are currently building a set of exhibits for Science North, an interactive science museum in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada and one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions. We are in the middle of fabrication of four exhibits for the science center: Lissajous, Building with Light, Overhead Fans and Linkages & Pulleys. Here are a few behind the scenes images of the project team building and prototyping.

Look back at past Science North blog posts: Science North Visits Creative Machines

Community Engagement

Many of our projects involve extensive community engagement that goes beyond discussions and surveys. We recognize that people think with their hands as well as their minds and that when communities come together to help plan projects they experience a sense of camaraderie and investment in the final product. We have held two community-based workshops recently and plan to hold many more in the future. Several of our past sculptural projects have sprouted from successful community engagement workshops like what you see pictured below.

Our involvement with the community does not stop with community engagement workshops for new sculptures– we often hold and participate in lectures for the local art and architecture communities as well as invite schools into the workshop for interactive field trips. Here are some recent photos from a field trip in November where we hosted some great kids from the Vail School District. Check out the blog post for more fun photos from their visit! 


As you can see, we have several projects we are working on as we roll into 2019 and several projects that are about to get started! Keep your eyes peeled for continuing blog updates for ongoing projects such as Camelback Commons and Zimmer Children’s Museum’s ball machine! Thank you so much for reading; stay tuned throughout 2019 as we unravel more exciting projects.


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