Il Grande Disco

The History of Charlotte's Public Art

Charlotte's Public Art: Il Grande Disco
••• Artie Beaty

Fast Facts:
Location:
Bank of America Plaza on Tryon Street
Designer: Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro
Installation Date: 1974

Il Grando Disco (also known as The Grand Disc) is a round coin-shaped piece of art that sits at Bank of America Plaza on Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte. The piece is a large, bronze wheel with dark edges and designs etched throughout both sides. The piece has a futuristic, foreign feel and almost seems to be ripping apart at its seams.

This piece was created specifically for the space by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, Il Grande Disco and was installed on October 2, 1974.

There are five more "Il Grande Disco" sculptures throughout the world, all with similar design and all installed in around the same time frame. Similar sister pieces sit on the campus of the University of Chicago (where it was installed in 1968), on the Piazza Filippo Meda, in Milan, Italy (this one was installed in 1980), at the Theatro Strehler in Milan (where it was installed in 1972), at the Donald Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo Headquarters in Purchase, N.Y. (this one was installed in 1974), and at the monument for Georg Büchner in Darmstadt, Germany (this one was installed in 1973).

In previous years, the sculpture turned slowly on an axis, and people walking by could even rotate it on their own by pushing on it. These days though, it's anchored in place and doesn't move at all.

Since it's located right on a primary street in Uptown Charlotte, and since it definitely stands out as unique, this is a popular stop for tourist photos. This was likely one of the most well known pieces of public art in Charlotte until the installation of the "disco chicken" in recent years. The sculpture has been featured prominently in several movies filmed in Charlotte, one of those being the 2002 film Juwanna Mann.

There's a plaque attached to the piece with a quote from the artist, Pomodoro, which reads: 

"'Our life today is one of crisis...of movement...of tension. We do not know what our world will become. I try to say something about this uncertainty in my work. I try to communicate a sense of vitality and connection with the movement of life today...and to be a part of its movement.
The social challenge of art today, in my opinion, is to start a dialogue with the people.
I hope that is what happens here with the Grande Disco.'

Arnaldo Pomodoro
October 2, 1974
A gift to the people of Charlotte by NCNB and Carter & Associates"

Il Grande Disco is just one of Charlotte's excellent pieces of public artwork. Click here for a look at some other installations around the city.