The steel globe

Steel Globe by Poblocki Sign Company

When London-based Willis Group Holdings acquired naming rights for the former Sears Tower in 2009, Poblocki Sign Company was enlisted to fabricate new signage for the building. In addition to stainless steel lettering and custom illuminated LED letters, the project included another highly ambitious task: fabricating a 25-foot, 16,000-pound stainless steel world globe for the north plaza. Poblocki Sign Company built the globe in 8 pieces and assembled it on-site in downtown Chicago. To build the globe, we used 1,450 feet of piping (which is equivalent to the height of the Wills Tower itself), and we used over 8 miles of welding wire. The globe sections were pre-assembled in our fabrication facility before shipping to ensure proper fit.

There was great complexity involved with the project such as getting the stainless-steel panels rolled into tubes that would form the globe structure as well as the forming of the continents that were laid out on the globe. The continents were vacuum-formed pieces shaped to the arc of the globe then laser cut into the shapes of the continents. Welding clips were attached to the back of the shapes to attach them to the globe. The whole project was put together, then disassembled to get it to the jobsite in Chicago.

The installation in Chicago was also unique in that it was all done at night between the hours of 8pm and 6am. Major transformation of the project happened overnight until installation was completed a week later. The world globe was a landmark in downtown Chicago for 10 years.

The Globe was gifted to Christopher Glass & Aluminum in 2017, and can now be found in front of their office building at 832 Industrial Drive in Elmhurst.

Elmhurst Public Art Tour
  1. SkyCube by David Wallace Haskins
  2. Bird City Saint by Sentrock
  3. Curl by Tom Waldron
  4. Figure in the Garden by Abbott Pattison
  5. Art from the Heart by John Nester
  6. You Are Beautiful by Matthew Hoffman
  7. Sistine Touch by Bob Emser
  8. Once Upon a Time by Frank Eliscu
  9. Eric Carle Collection
  10. Crashing Waves by Eleanor King Hookham
  11. Be Bold. Be Elmhurst by Rafael Blanco & Andrew Sobel
  12. There Was A Vision by George Melville Smith
  13. Elmhurst University Art Collection, A.C. Buehler Library
  14. Bicentennial Fountain
  15. Millennium Fountain
  16. Portal by Nicole Beck
  17. Steel Globe by Poblocki Sign Company
  18. Color Rain