Loren Naji’s gigantic wooden orb began to arouse curiosity the moment he brought it to rest at the base of the Detroit Superior Bridge for the Ingenuity Festival. For more than a month, the eight-foot, 3,000-pound sphere remained parked there.
“No one told me to take it down,” Naji told us in October. “I guess I installed a major piece of public art without any red tape.”
Alas, the red tape has emerged: The county engineer’s department forced Naji to take his ball home last weekend until a long-term ruling on its future can be made.
Now in storage, Naji’s orb took a year to make, 160 sheets of plywood, “a gazillion” sheets of sandpaper, 100 pounds of screws, and case after case of Liquid Nails. All told, he blew more than $5,000 at Home Depot to bring his dream to life.
His original intent was to have the orb — which he calls “They Have Landed” — permanently displayed across from the West Side Market. He hoped its hugeness, roundness — its “obsessive use of material and fantastical presence,” as he says — would spark interest. But so far, he’s got just one key advocate in his corner.
“I love it,” says downtown Councilman Joe Cimperman. “I think it should stay.”