Believing in the vital role that art plays in society, Henry T. Segerstrom and the Segerstrom Family, founders and owners of South Coast Plaza, commissioned numerous site-specific and dramatic sculptures in Costa Mesa, Calif. These can be found in South Coast Plaza’s sister properties and the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts as well as inside South Coast Plaza.
Among these works of art, California Scenario by world-renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi is one of the most important large outdoor sculpture gardens in the U.S. It is a hidden oasis in the metropolis and is accessible to the public.
Across the street from Noguchi’s magnum opus stands Utsurohi 91. a dynamic work of art by esteemed Japanese artist Aiko Miyawaki. This sculpture was initially designed as a key element in the entry court for architect Cesar Pelli’s stainless steel Plaza Tower. Presciently, Utsurohi 91 also became a striking focal point in the courtyard of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ Samueli Theater.
Commissioned by the Segerstrom family in 1979 and completed in 1982, Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario is recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent sculpture gardens and the most vital publicly accessible outdoor sculpture oasis in Southern California. One of the artist’s most important public sculpture gardens, its design symbolizes various geographical characteristics of California, incorporating indigenous plants and materials.
Six principal elements comprise California Scenario: Forest Walk, Land Use, Desert Land, Water Source, Water Use and Energy Fountain. The centerpiece of the garden is The Spirit of the Lima Bean, a sculpture of dramatic portions, composed of 15 rust-colored granite rocks cut precisely to fit together. This sculpture was created in recognition of the Segerstrom family’s agricultural heritage in Southern California.
Located off Anton Blvd. across the street from Plaza Tower
Aiko Miyawaki created Utsurohi 91 as a key artistic element of the entry court for Cesar Pelli’s stainless steel Plaza Tower. Pelli insisted the court separate the tower from its parking structure, and in turn Segerstrom hired renowned landscape architect Peter Walker to effectuate Pelli’s vision.
The dynamic sculpture consists of a series of twelve ten-foot columns set in an elliptical configuration with chromium-plated steel “threads” intertwining in graceful patterns from the top of each column. On the interior surface of each column, a small rough-surfaced rectangle displays a glossy relief image of one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. Each animal is identified in both Latin and Chinese. In this quiet and subtle piece, there is a hint of the poetic states of the moods of nature. Utsurohi loosely translates to “swift change,” or “transience.” Miyawaki’s work suggests an investigation of philosophical and metaphysical relations between time, space, existence, and eternity, while also focusing on themes related to the alchemy of Mahayana Buddhism.
Located between Plaza Tower and Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ Samueli Theater