Chicago O’Hare’s Underground Light Sculpture

As I was passing through the Chicago O’Hare airport on my way back from spring break, I got to walk through this tunnel in Terminal 1. It’s an expansive tunnel of moving walkways that pass below the tarmac between concourses. Particularly when it’s packed with people running late for their flights, these daunting 800 feet could be pure torture, full of terrible experiences of strangers shoving their way along. However, this beautiful, interactive light sculpture gives travelers a sensory experience to accompany their journey. Ambient jazz riffs of “Rhapsody in Blue” play in the space while the lights flicker on and off in patterns, seemingly traveling down the stretch of space.

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Designed by Michael Hayden, this 744 foot light sculpture is titled “Sky’s the Limit” (yes, I loved it so much I researched it afterwards). I think it’s a fairly fitting name, as it takes an inconvenient stretch of space and creates an inspiring experience from it. The number of people whipping out their camera phones is surely a marker that this space is desirable. Rather than leaving with memories of a long hallway of rushing people, travelers now leave the Chicago airport with memories (and photos) of a beautiful, joyful intervention in the space. 

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