Diamonds Are A Square's Best Friend

Oh, there will be sparkle plenty early next year when the street lamps on Market Street sport a bit of bling, thanks to artist Carin Mincemoyer. With a playful turn on the Square's original name — The Diamond — Carin got the idea to design "diamond" studded accessories to dress up the lighting that leads the way to Downtown's favorite gathering place and historic crossroads.

With all the improvements on Fifth Avenue and in Market Square it just makes sense that the street connecting them should shine as bright.  The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership reached out to the Office of Public Art (a public-private partnership between the City of Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council) to solve the problem.  When the city's Office of Public Art sounded the call for high-watt ideas for a way to connect the Square with the Cultural District and First Side, Carin flipped on her creativity switch to come up with this brilliant plan. Carin worked hard to win the project.  A jury of property owners and art professionals sorted through all the qualifications from local and national applicants and Carin came to the top.  Just take a look at some of the past work highlighted on her website, including a temporary sculpture that was at the Children's Museum on the North Side - a dreamy cloud mobile made up of recycled plastic bottles, electronics parts and other stuff that people throw out. 

Just in case you never get a chance to see the Hope Diamond up close and personal, we're giving you a big time sneak peek at the Market Square's "Diamond, Diamonds" right here. Much of Mincemoyer's work investigates the space where nature and man-made products intersect.  This project references the history of the Square but also juxtaposes the diamond in its natural state versus man-made shape.  Individual 8" cut diamonds made of plexiglass and lit with LEDs will be suspended in the chemical shape of a diamond molecule.  The cluster will be mounted on the two poles in the middle of Market Street and it will appear as if the diamonds have encrusted the top of the lamp post.  When the poles light at night, the street light will add it's glow to the LEDs and they will have the effect of a halo around the central light glowing within.  When the project's complete this spring, clusters of gems will shimmer and shine every evening, drawing pedestrians back and forth along that magical pathway that links the Allegheny River to the banks of the Mon.

Of course, we're glowing that Carin got the nod for this project. But in addition to Carin's work, this project could not have gotten anywhere without the Office of Public Art, lighting consultant Hal Hilbish and the members of the committee.  They were plugged in from start to finish on this electrifying project.

So, remember to keep your chin up in the months ahead to keep track of an illuminating idea that we think is, well, just brilliant.


  1. This is in place of the earlier "chandelier" idea referenced by the Post Gazette on 7/17? Why did they decide to forgo the hanging piece in lieu of mounting it on a street light?

    I thought the hanging piece sounded much more inviting, but I'll reserve my judgement until I see the results.

  2. The lights weren't working on Saturday night. I waited a couple of hours. Anyone know what happened and if the lights were fixed by Sunday night?

  3. There was a technical difficulty on Saturday. The electrician wasn't able to come out until Monday morning. They are working just fine now!

  4. You are correct, the original concept was to hang the diamonds over the center of the street from a cable. 1. We found that the anchor buildings would have lost their state historic tax credits if they participated (a HUGE monetary loss) 2. The reconstruction of Market Street was announced after the original design period (the light poles didn't exist when Carin did the first design).

    As a result of those two changes, Carin had new opportunities to work with. Her new solution will have more interaction with the pedestrians through its location over the sidewalk. We're all very excited to see it in person, too!