TimeSculpture – Philip Johnson


TimeSulpture - Philiip Johnson

Philip Johnson was our oldest and most famous architect, at the time, but he was a sculptor too. We made many pieces for him, in spite of the fact that by the time we met, he was 87. This piece is at Lincoln Center, NYC. It is a triangular tower, wrenched severely corkscrewing counter clockwise as it goes up. It had four (4) Mavado clocks in it, all tied to GPS satellites, so that when the electricity was lost, and came back on, the clocks would find the correct time and reset themselves automatically. There were three(3) 5’ diameter dials on each face and the forth one was 12” in diameter. The glass dials are two pane laminated safety glass, wrench and distorted in the same way as the surface demands. They had to be molded and glued in their unique shapes. Very tricky.

The granite base was made for us in Rhode Island, the granite came from a quarry in Franklin, MA. The surface texture Philip chose was flame finish. After sculpting the planar surfaces they would take a torch to the surface, and the air inside the granite would heat up, build pressure and explode, creating a rough but uniform finish. We learned a lot about cutting stone from a mountain. I love stone, because every stone can be brought to a high polish like a kitchen counter, showing its true beauty. We had to crawl inside the granite and then up the tower, so you can see the trap door in the short granite wall with two (2) keyed locks.