The craftsmen responsible for iconic signage on the Peachtree Street bridge over the I-75/I-85 Connector, at Ponce City Market and the renovated Rialto Theatre marquee have created what’s sure to be another Atlanta landmark for Centennial Olympic Park – and it’s spectacular.
Actually, it’s The Spectacular.
Standing 11 feet tall, 23-and-a-half feet wide, and weighing in at 5,000 pounds, a new plate aluminum sculpture depicting the Olympic rings, known as The Spectacular, became a new fixture of Centennial Olympic Park today.
Fabricated by Henry Incorporated at the company’s shop in an industrial park off Covington Highway in DeKalb County, The Spectacular is designed to strengthen the park’s Olympic heritage while providing interactive opportunities for guests to create memories – namely selfies.
Attached to a large raised pedestal, The Spectacular greets visitors near the park’s east entryway at Andrew Young International Blvd. and Centennial Olympic Park Drive (across from the Waffle House), beckoning them to pull out their phones and cameras.
The inspiration for the piece, according to Joshua Wolfe, Henry Inc.’s Vice President of Business Development, is the I Amsterdam letters at Schipol airport in the Netherlands. “The huge set of letters has become a city icon and a much sought-after photo opportunity,” according to iamsterdam.com.
That’s the hope for The Spectacular, too, but for Atlanta, not Amsterdam, of course.
“How do you even think of Atlanta without thinking of the Olympics?” Jeff Oden, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s (GWCCA) Director of Project and Program Management who oversees The Spectacular project, told WSB-TV’s Wendy Corona in an exclusive segment broadcast Thursday, which you can watch below.
The Spectacular is part of the ongoing renovations of the park, set to conclude soon. Other new features include a retooled Southern Company Amphitheater, and a new entryway on the Baker Street corner boasting a brand new water feature surrounding the relocated Androgyne Planet statue.
Meanwhile, The Spectacular isn’t quite selfie-ready yet. It arrived at the park on a flatbed today, hoisted in place by a crane and affixed to the large concrete and granite foundation, but is still fenced in within an active construction zone. Oden predicts the sculpture will be ready for public photo ops in early January.
The Spectacular was two years in the making, including conception and design, four months of fabrication, and roughly 1,000 hours of manpower invested, said Wolfe.
“It’s touched every department here,” said Wolfe. “We had one guy that was kind of our main fabricator on that portion (of the project) and he had several guys helping him out with that process. We built this thing on its side, and once it was done, stood it up. It’s funny, as it was laying down being fabricated, you kind of had a sense of how big it is, but once it was stood up, that’s when you really got a sense of how large it is – it’s huge.”
Then it was time for the really hard part: painting. The challenges included having to use multiple colors – which had to match the official Olympic-sanctioned colors – and painting the rounded edges, complicated even further where the circles intersect.
Furthermore, the paint had to be durable, able to withstand the weather – and people potentially climbing on the structure – and is akin to coating used on playground equipment.
And consider this: because the rings have to go in a particular color scheme order (blue, yellow, black, green, red) from left to right, the ring faces are painted different colors on each side, with the exception of the middle ring, which is black on both sides.
“Getting all that figured out has been the biggest challenge,” said Wolfe.
Henry Inc. is no stranger to Centennial Olympic Park. The company’s handiwork at the 22-acre park owned and operated by the GWCCA, includes the facility’s eight 65-foot lighted towers, info kiosks and the Quilt of Nations canopy.
Wolfe is confident his company’s latest addition will make a lasting impression.
“This is going to be an iconic Atlanta landmark,” said Wolfe.