Feature Commission: Zachary Oxman at Jersey Shore University Medical Center

Contributed by Hank Hancock
May 24, 2018


The suspended and illuminated sculpture, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center : Hope Tower in Neptune, NJ, was inspired by the imagery of the cherry blossoms, which are an icon in this region of New Jersey. It is designed to evoke a sense of beauty and the renewal of spring, symbolic of healing and hope, which is the central theme for the new hospital building: Hope Tower.


The large lobby space can be seen from many directions: from outside the main entrance through a window wall, from beneath within the lobby, and from a second floor balcony waiting area. A second location is a two-story throughway that connects to the garage, and which is visible from each side through window walls. The sculptures help define these common spaces through nature and light, creating landmarks that help to orient visitors and staff, and to establish a visual identity for the entire hospital. They were designed based on the theme of hope and the client’s interest in highlighting the region’s iconic cherry trees. They comprise fabricated aluminum in the shape of cherry tree branches in bloom, suspended with cables from artfully designed structures called “cloud forms.” The blossoms are fashioned in powder coated perforated aluminum and have computer-controlled LED lights that create a dynamic component, washing the canopy with an ever-changing array of colors.


The artist Zachary Oxman developed computer renderings and animations for a preliminary design concept. A second design phase produced full-size components and materials samples, LED light display and a VR experience to convey the actual scale and human experience in the environment. He worked with the architectural and engineering team to adjust the design to most effectively and efficiently meet the engineering requirements. He fabricated structures from which to hang the sculptures by cables, which he calls “cloud forms.” They add a visual narrative to complement the sculptures while meeting engineering requirements for connection points, which were predetermined in a CAD program. The artist completed three separate sculptures, each approximately 34’ long and 10′ wide.