Etched-Glass Installation by University of the Arts Alumna Crowns Restoration of Empire State Building Lobby

'Circle In' by Denise Amses '80 (Painting) sparkles with over 15,000 stars and 5,000 circles

February 21, 2011

A stunning installation by University of the Arts alumna Denise Amses '80 (Painting) titled "Circle In" was recently unveiled as the crowning glory of the $20 million dollar, multi-year restoration of the storied Empire State Building's lobby. 

A site-specific illuminated etched-glass installation, "Circle In" sparkles with over 15,000 stars and 5,000 circles and was inspired by the celestial images in the building's recently uncovered original Art Deco ceiling murals. The three-dimensional work includes 12 levels of motifs lit from within by cold cathode tubes and weighs almost 2,900 pounds. It is featured at eye level behind the lobby Visitor Reception Desk.

"I wanted to create something that acts as a beacon to bring you to that spot," Amses told The New York Times. "For people coming to a building like this, they aren't looking for art. But for that split second that they're there, I want to get their attention." 

The lobby is part of the Empire State Rebuilding program, which cost more than $550 million and was led by a team of top architects, historians, restorers and craftspeople. 

Amses and her husband Chris Cosma operate the Brooklyn-based studio AmsesCosma that specializes in site-specific, architectural-scale works in light, glass, steel and stone. Their 12-ton sculpture "Rhythms of Infinity" was recently unveiled in the concourse of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, another historic New York Art Deco skyscraper. The work of light, crystal, steel, etched glass and stone is on permanent exhibit. 

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