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Blue Eclipse

Veterans Administration Hospital

Palo Alto, California



Blue Eclipse is a sculpture suspended in the rotunda entry and waiting area of the Palo Alto, Veterans Administration Mental Health Center. The Entry is the gateway for both inpatient and outpatient populations, as well as the Foundations of Recovery Program for U.S. Veterans. The two sculptures embody different states of energy whose colors shift in a changing blue-green spectrum of light. Discussions with mental health workers directed the artist to the blue-green spectrum of color. The sculptures manifest an energy that calms and quiets one’s entry into the rotunda and movement to the waiting area. The elements of the rotunda sculpture circle a void that allows sunlight to enter from the skylights above. During the day sunlight integrates with shades of blue LED light. This mixture of LED and sunlight has a very unique quality.

Each sculpture is comprised of elliptical, laser-cut aluminum shapes, which stack on cables and form “elliptoids”. The plates of these elliptoids are in turn cut with an elliptical pattern to open them up to light. They circle and gather in the rotunda as if they were a mass of orbiting planets. When you are at eye level with the sculpture from the second-floor balcony, the plates at eye level seem to disappear while the plates above and below seen from an oblique angle and stack to form more solid looking forms. The sculpture is always infused with light and its form has a pixilated quality, always changing from different perspectives. Both sculptures are visible from the second-floor hallway leading to the rotunda where the doorway frames the rotunda sculpture. At night, the two sculptures can be seen illuminated through the glass of the rotunda and waiting area façade, acting as a beacon for the Health Center.


Blue Eclipse - Veterans Administration Hospital - Projects - Cliff Garten Studio

Photo Credit Billy Hustace

Veterans Administration Hospital, Palo Alto, CA


Hard Anodized Aluminum Sheet, Laser cut, LED Lights

Rotunda Sculpture 9.5’ H x 7’ L x 7’ D; Elevator Lobby Sculpture 24’ H x 7.5’ W x 2.5’ D

Commissioned by
Palo Alto Veterans Administration of the Federal Government

Patrell Engineering, Glendora CA

Metal Arts Foundry, Lehi, UT

Client Reference 
Andrew Peters, Project Manager for the Palo Alto Veterans Administration

Billy Hustace
Oakland, CA