Positioned between the state Capital and the state Supreme Court, the Michigan Vietnam Memorial Monument stands illuminated as an ever-present reminder to the past. Our aim for this site was to create a warm and comfortable environment for visitors to reflect upon the events of the past and remember those who gave their lives.
The monument is comprised of two major elements: a semi-circular bench with an open plaza on one side- designed for contemplation and reflection; and a cantilevered steel arc on the other, with a glowing stand of plaques. Side emitting fiber optic backlights a strip of frosted glass, recessed into the ground and divides the two areas. The massive arc appears to be floating on the light of vaportite fluorescents, which are hidden in a pocket beneath the structure. Mounted to the arc are 15 plaques, representing Michigan’s counties. Each plaque is set off from the arc by two miniature incandescent floodlights. A single MR16 fixture is mounted at the top of each panel and grazes down across the raised lettering, highlighting the names.
Together these simple lighting elements, along with the monuments striking architecture, combine to create a comforting environment where individuals can visit and remember those who were lost.