L3DFX Reaches for New Heights at O’Hare

As a growing entertainment design firm, we are always moving – reaching – forward.

This year, we completed one of our largest project installations to date. The immense sculpture, REACH, proudly now hangs in our hometown of Chicago. L3DFX was chosen to handle the intensive planning and minute details needed to successfully install REACH. One of 19 art projects commissioned by the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, this was the perfect project and opportunity for our team to be a part of something that will forever help welcome visitors to Chicago.

Designed by New York-based artists Hank Willis Thomas and Coby Kennedy, REACH’s size is remarkable. It features a pair of hands extending toward each other. Hanging in mid-air, REACH the hands are close, but don’t quite connect in their position above a set of escalators in the Multi-Modal Facility of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The arms are powerful and large. The female’s extends nearly 27 feet in length and the male’s is nearly 31 feet long. For the L3DFX team, size was just the beginning. Installation required safely mounting the arms between nine and 34 feet off the ground so the artists’ full vision could be fully seen and understood.

Travelers approach REACH’s three-story hall through a tunnel and immediately see the first, beckoning hand overhead. As true art lies in the eye of the beholder, REACH changes as the viewer continues to move through space, via the escalators. The viewpoint changes with the direction of the escalator as the sculpture appears at eye level from the top floors and later towers overhead as individuals descend, ultimately passing through and underneath the iridescent arms.

The installation of REACH required foresight and care, creativity, partnership, and expertise – and the L3DFX team was ready. The project was a 3D puzzle of grand size and proportion, not only in addition to their extended sizes, but the arms also weighed a great deal – over 1,000 pounds and over 1,700 pounds each! From embedding brackets into the walls to completing the finishing touches, REACH took almost two weeks to fully hoist and unveil.

Today, REACH inspires guests as they study the fluidity between the giant arms and the near gravity-defying spectacle both above – and below – them. It also inspires the question, “How did they hang this?” Only the L3DFX team knows for sure.