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Mad Hatter

Sacramento Valley High Library

Sacramento, California



The entry sculptures and bench at Sacramento Valley High Library are designed in relation to the scale of the human body while meeting the practical need for seating in the entry plaza. The curves of the sculptures allude to the physical body, yet their slightly oversized proportions define the piece as something iconic marking the library entry.

Through the repetition of parts and the interplay of light, these pieces offer a dynamic experience, blending together the illumination of polished metal rods by sunlight and metal halide light at night. Like the famous character from Lewis Carroll’s story, the “Mad Hatter” displays an illusionary presence, the curves of the rods seeming to struggle to be free from the linear confines of the mahogany bench. Its simple elegance tries to transmit the illusion that the wooden bench is floating over two stainless steel orbs which are also illuminated.

An important aspect of the sculptures is the difference between day and night behaviors. Minimal in character, it contrasts the finish of the silver stainless with the mahogany brown red. During the day the rods reflect and refract the natural light, while at night the pieces are illuminated from within. The nighttime presence of the sculptures defines a strong character for the entry of the library building.



Sacramento Valley High Library, Sacramento, CA


Stainless Steel, HID Light, Mahogany

8’ H x 15’ L x 42” D

Commissioned by
Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission

Patrell Engineering Group, Inc.

Metal Arts Foundry, Lehi, UT

Client Reference 
Shelly Willis, Art in Public Places Administrator, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission