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Giant paper plane shade structures take flight at Grand Park

The view above Grand Park is about to be filled with more than just towering metropolitan buildings — a flock of nearly a dozen fifteen-foot-long canvas planes are set to be unveiled Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles.

The art installation was designed to be both visually appealing and practical. The piece will provide shade across the park's popular Olive Court — where hundreds of commuters gather every afternoon to take advantage of the lunchtime food trucks.

The winning idea for the LA2050 grant competition was an art piece that doubled as a source of shade and was to be designed by a local artist, director for the park Lucas Rivera told KPCC.  Over 50 artists submitted their concepts, which were narrowed down to three designs by a small committee including county representatives and the Music Center staff. The Music Center operates the park, which is owned by L.A. County.

The three finalists were put to a public vote on social media. The winner: "Paper Airplanes" by Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff.

"Paper Airplanes" as seen from above in concept art.
The Music Center
"Paper Airplanes" as seen from above in concept art.

Each plane has an approximate 10-foot wingspan and is made up of a canvas material that is commonly used for other shade veils, Rivera said. They are connected to each other in a way that creates a curve. 

“By the time your eyes go from the back to the front of the structure, you get to see and kind of imagine these planes almost taking flight,” he said.

Rivera thinks this design stands out from any other shade structure in the city. He said every other space in Los Angeles that has outdoor seating has standard canopies, which are missing one thing: the wow factor.

“It needs to represent, not only shade, but it needs to represent art. It needs to represent public art,” he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the ownership Grand Park; it is owned by Los Angeles County. KPCC regrets the error.