Commercial & Office

    Chihuly Sculpture Installation at Van Andel Institute

    Van Andel Institute founder Jay Van Andel commissioned world-famous artist Dale Chihuly to create “Life,” a 14-foot glass sculpture reminiscent of the DNA double helix. The 1,200-pound work spirals from the ceiling in VAI’s lobby. The sculpture was crafted over several months by a team of more than 70 people from the Chihuly studio in Seattle. Supported by the artist’s custom steel framework, it is comprised of 1,100 hand-blown glass globes and shapes in several shades of blue - turquoise, ice, cobalt, lapis – with amber, citron, yellow and red accents.
    Erhardt Construction built the structural steel additions to the existing overhead beams to support the unit and provide a connection point for the four wire ropes that suspend the sculpture. This one-of-a-kind piece celebrates the 1953 discovery of the DNA double helix which ultimately led to the mapping of the human genome in 2000, just as Van Andel Institute was launched. This discovery was a driving force in creating the field known as molecular biology and led to the understanding of the genetic basis of disease revolutionizing the search for drugs and other therapies.

    Project at a glance

    • Client: Van Andel Institute
    • Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan