Designed by artist Phillip K. Smith III, Santa Monica Linear is a singular, monolithic gesture: a horizontal line of reflected sky inserted into a vertical plane of lush green landscape. Smith engaged SOM’s structural engineers to work with him in achieving a perfectly level, extruded form, free from internal structural elements. The result is a 30-foot-long, ultra-flat aluminum beam element housing a mirrored glass reflective surface that rests on a 42-degree slope, under the cover of eucalyptus trees.
The piece reflects the sun even when the hillside is in the afternoon shade. At sunset, shifting gradients of light are reflected across the surface of the work, moving through the color spectrum and blending into the dark of night at center. The pace of the color choreography inspires stillness—like watching a sunset, presence and focus are the only requirements to witness the color change.
Smith is drawn to sites where he can engage with the existing beauty of the landscape, whether along the edge of the ocean, in the middle of the desert, or set amid an urban center. He seeks to create highly memorable experiences, seemingly ephemeral and directly conditioned by the specific qualities of the site.