By Richard Lippold
1986, Gold, silver, and red stainless steel
Fire Bird is one of the series of sculptures and public works of art commissioned and curated by Henry Segerstrom that enhance the performing arts halls, office towers, parks and arts plazas in and around South Coast Plaza and Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Segerstrom commissioned Richard Lippold to create Fire Bird in 1985 for Segerstrom Hall, which was being constructed at the time to debut in 1986. The three-ton, 60-foot-high sculpture of aluminum and stainless steel is architecturally and artistically integrated into both the exterior and interior of the Hall.

The gold, red, and silver colored stainless steel and aluminum sculpture was named Fire Bird by the late Renée Segerstrom as an homage to Igor Stravinsky’s ballet of the same title. Lippold conceived of his sculptures as objects in space, which he developed from a Constructivist model. He was devoted to pure geometry, seeing it as a metaphor for the universe and its philosophical mystique. With very few exceptions, Lippold’s constructions in space employ simple geometric forms that outline triangles, cubes, pyramids, cones, and circles. The viewer need not analyze Lippold’s geometric webs of stretched wire to appreciate the beauty, elegance, and the tension Fire Bird creates in equilibrium with the architecture of Segerstrom Hall.