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Public Art
and Placemaking

Placemaking is a people-centered approach to planning, design and management of public spaces. By integrating significant artworks into the design of a space, you not only enhance the environmental aesthetic but also provide visitors many opportunities for interaction and connection with each other.


“Space” is just a piece of land whereas “place” connotes an emotional attachment to the land. When designing artpieces for our clients, Creative Machines strives to turn 'spaces into places' - places where people feel at home, want to linger, come to meet old friends and new, and build their lives around. As artists, we think about the confluence of natural systems, cultural touchstones, historical precedents, adjacent communities and the surrounding architecture and landscape. The art we create provides human-scale objects that give people a sense of self, an awareness of the larger community, and the opportunity to interact with fellow residents.

Turning Places into Spaces

At Creative Machines, we create art that goes beyond aesthetics to truly transform public spaces. We believe that art has the power to ignite imagination, foster connection, and inspire meaningful experiences within communities. The following projects are just a few examples of our art that have truly transformed public spaces and brought communities together.

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Cooling Visitors Along a Linear Path

Our Wet Wheel offers a cooling spritz of water along a bike and pedestrian path.

Wet Wheel

Creative Machines

Tucson, Arizona

Bridging the Past with the Present

Our interactive sculpture “Bends Toward Justice” encourage interaction and engagement with history on the historic street where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., WEB DuBois and Booker T Washington lived and worked.

Bends Toward Justice

Creative Machines

Atlanta, Georgia

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A Whole Body Experience

A challenging whole-body experience at an athletic facility becomes a family ritual.

Chasing the Stars

Creative Machines

Goodyear, Arizona

A Beautiful Gathering Place

A colorful glass pavilion at the confluence of a hiking trail and neighborhood pathway becomes a place for people to meet and hang out.

Through Other Eyes

Creative Machines

Lawrence, Kansas

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An Interactive Experience With Built-in Secrets

Unique color patterns give each night of the week its own personality. A secret button lets people control the colorful lighting themselves.

Desert O

Creative Machines

Tucson, Arizona

Concepts to Transform Existing Spaces With Light, Movement & Color

Interactivity has the power to significantly increase the amount of time visitors spend in one location. These models of interactive kinetic sculptures are intended to enliven public hardscapes with vibrant color. The fluidity of the form allows visitors to repeatedly visit a sculpture and leave with different experiences each time.

Dichroic Rings

Creative Machines

working model

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An Oasis Within a City

Chinook Arc is an interactive, illuminated sculpture created as part of a new urban park where downtown Calgary meets a historic residential area. The enclosed space within the sculpture frames the sky and becomes an immersive color environment in the evening.

Visitors can control the lighting through an optical sensor that projects the movements and colors it sees onto the sculpture. They can wave their hands, move colored objects or play a movie on their cell phones in order to create their own light environment. This monumental sculpture has become a landmark in the community.

Chinook Arc

Creative Machines

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

An Interactive Experience in a Historic City

Our piole Kabuto is an abstract interactive sculpture made from polished stainless steel located in a rooftop garden in Himeji, Japan. The rooftop operates as an urban park with a viewing deck, benches, promenade, and multi-purpose stage. The shape of the sculpture references Kabuto samurai helmets and the Kuwagata beetle that inspired these helmets.The form also creates a place for visitors to sit within the piece—a level of interactivity that is unusual in Japan but has been warmly welcomed.

Piole Kabuto

Creative Machines

Himeji, Japan

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A Selfie Spot that Rewards Repeat Visits

The bands of this shell tell the history of San Diego from prehistory to 2017. The perforated text arranged in bands spiral down the shell in the same way that a shell grows from one season to the next. The most recent dates and events in San Diego history are closest to the opening at the bottom of the shell in the same way that a real shell has its most recent additions closest to the opening. This has become a hugely popular selfie spot in downtown San Diego. Locals started a hashtag where visitors can share their pictures online: #Park12Shellfie

Growing Home

Creative Machines

San Diego, California

Repository of Tradition, Centerpiece for Ceremony

Texas Rising consists of five sculptures and two chandeliers located on the Texas Tech University campus. Each star has a unique pattern that abstractly represents the university’s values, culture, alumni, academic achievements and traditions. Each star also contains a secret symbol, encouraging students and alumni to cherish and pass on local traditions. The artists developed these patterns through workshops with students and employees.

Texas Rising

Creative Machines

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

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Neglected Space
Transformed by Art

Ballroom Luminoso is a series of six brilliantly lit, color-changing chandeliers installed under the IH-35 freeway in San Antonio, Texas. The project brought art to the city’s south side by enlivening the area for current residents and encouraging cultural interaction beyond the city center. The art has tranformed a forgotten space and now links two formerly separate communities.

Ballroom Luminoso

Creative Machines

San Antonio, Texas

Providing a Place for Remembrance

Our bike church has become the site of weddings, a landmark for the neighborhood, and a destination for cyclists.

Bike Church

Creative Machines

Tucson, Arizona

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An Entire Downtown District

Creative Machines creates practical art plans for entire downtown districts, regenerative landscapes, and public infrastructure. In recent years, we have designed an entire series of sculptures for Denver’s Theatre District, among other locations. 

Community Engagement

We work with your community to design art that everyone loves. We often say that a project hasn't been started until we work with the community on the design and it isn't complete until the community has made it their own through interaction. By involving community members in the design process, they can provide valuable insights into what they would like to see in the artwork, what values and themes are important to them, and how the artwork can contribute to the overall character and identity of the community.

 

This is the story of how we designed Chasing the Stars, one of the world’s largest human-powered kinetic sculptures, with the Goodyear, Arizona community. Creative Machines hosted a series of hands-on community workshops that helped us get to the heart of what the community really wanted.

Transform Your Space into a Place

See what we can do for your space. With Creative Machines, you'll benefit from having one of the world's largest and most capable firms that creates projects from concept through installation in-house. Our projects are built to last and we take care of our clients throughout the warranty period and beyond. We've been doing this for nearly 30 years on six continents. Once you start a project with us, you get lifetime support.

 

We create art for placemaking that is beautiful but goes beyond aesthetics, offering an immersive and captivating environment for all to enjoy. With a deep understanding of the importance of community engagement, we work closely with local stakeholders to ensure that our art reflects the spirit and identity of the people it serves. Join us on this artistic journey as we continue to make a difference and bring art to the heart of communities.

Contact Us

Thank you for your interest!

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