Waterfall is an iconic metal sculpture created for the historic Marshall Fields Building in Dallas, originally designed by internationally renowned architect Philip Johnson in 1979. The sculpture is composed of hundreds of small aluminum blades, each deformed and folded slightly to catch the sun and create a rippling, shimmering effect.

We were captivated by Johnson’s original design concept, a large curving wall of Texas limestone framing a three-story entry portal. The walls themselves were envisioned as canvases to be adorned with oversized colorful splashes of paint in collaboration with artist Claes Oldenburg. While this design was never realized, the towering stone walls and oversized arched entry have become icons at Dallas and its twin at the Houston Gallerias for decades. We were hired to give new presence to this landmark to celebrate its repurposing into a new Belk flagship store. 

Waterfall was the intentional result of light and depth. To preserve and enhance the essence of the original work while creating the most visual impact, we focused on the entry portal. Rather than hide or demolish the existing portal, we emphasized its boldness by surgically removing the dated arched entry within it and inserting a large-scaled artwork that responded to the spirit of Johnson’s original design. This lightweight, shimmering sculpture draws the eye as it floats in contrast to the curving stone walls, creating a specular display that changes day and night. 

The aluminum blades are comprised of 28 different shapes that are rotated, mirrored, and flipped to create a unique, organic pattern without repeat. The metal is finished in a reflective paint that captures and reflects daylight, and at night, Waterfall is silhouetted by an illuminated interior cavity that reveals a glass mosaic tile wall. The sculpture conjures images of the natural waterfalls that seep through limestone walls in the Texas Hill Country. The sculpture is enjoyed by millions of Galleria Dallas visitors annually.