FREEDOM: A SHARED DREAM - Winning Design Announced

Farhang Foundation
Tel: +310.666.1546


The Competition to celebrate the ideals of Cyrus the Great drew over 300 submissions from renowned artists worldwide, culminating in a winning entry by Cecil Balmond.

freedomSculpture LAT article

LOS ANGELES, CA, November 11, 2015 -- Farhang Foundation announced today that Cecil Balmond, OBE, has been selected as the winner of Freedom: A Shared Dream, an international art competition to create a urban art/sculptural landmark in honor of the ideals of Cyrus the Great who ruled the ancient Persian Empire 2,600 years ago and championed the principles of religious diversity and personal freedom for all. These same ideals, later became the foundation of the American Constitution and a dream that is shared by many across the world. Once built, Freedom - A Shared Dream will be gifted as a landmark to the City of Los Angeles, by Farhang Foundation on behalf of the Iranian-American community.

The next phase, which includes both the fabrication of the sculpture and its installation, will soon be underway. Farhang Foundation is working closely with Balmond and the City of Los Angeles. The final sculpture will be unveiled at an official ceremony in 2017.

cecil balmond winnerBalmond is widely considered to be one of the most significant creators of his generation. An internationally renowned artist, architect and engineer, Balmond has been honored with many awards in his decorated career. Most recently in 2015, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to architecture. He has been exhibited internationally at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Graham Foundation (Chicago), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen), Artists Space (New York) and Arc en Rêve (Bordeaux, France). He has also been a professor at prestigious academic institutions, including University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Yale.

"We received hundreds of submissions from very gifted artists both near and far," said Shazad Ghanbari, Farhang Trustee and Competition Chair. "We have always felt that the popularity of this competition was directly related to the global appeal and affection for Cyrus the Great, whose rule was marked by tolerance and freedom. Mr.Balmond's brilliant and elegant design will become a west-coast landmark to freedom, a dream that is shared by all who live in America. We are very pleased with the outcome of this competition and grateful to our esteemed jurors for their service."

"The Cyrus Cylinder is Talismanic of a great vision for all peoples - and I hope my design is an artwork which projects the cylinder's deep values, not only to LA but also to the world," said Cecil Balmond.

The competition, which began in May 2014, drew over 300 submissions, many from professional artists and architects. Of those, 150 applicants were invited to submit ideas, sketches, and a narrative of their proposed plan. In December 2014, Farhang announced that five finalists had been selected.

The panel of jurors for this competition included Kamran Diba (Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art - Founder and Architect); Shazad Ghanbari (Farhang Foundation Trustee and Competition Chair); Linda Komaroff (Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Scott Jay Schaefer (Vice President, International Fine Arts at Sothebys and former Senior Curator, J. Paul Getty Museum); and Bennett Simpson (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles).



Cecil Balmond is regarded as the world's leading thinker on form. Artist, architect and engineer, Balmond transcends the conventional boundaries of discipline - working in the crossover between art and science. In this dynamic area, he has re-invented the very concept of space, transforming the meaning of geometry, form and structure.Before setting up Balmond Studio in 2011, Balmond was Deputy Chairman of Arup. Balmond was also Global Leader of Buildings for many years as well as Chairman of the Europe Division. He currently holds the Paul Philippe Cret Chair at Penn Design as Professor of Architecture where he founded the Non-Linear Systems Organization (NSO), a material and structural research unit at University of Pennsylvania. He has also been Kenzo Tange Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Architecture, Saarinen Professor at Yale University School of Architecture and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics.

Cecil Balmond has been honoured with many awards, most recently in 2015 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services and architecture. Cecil was also awarded the 2002 Japanese Gengo Matsui prize for the Serpentine Gallery pavilion he designed with Toyo Ito, the RIBA Charles Jencks Award for Theory in Practice in 2003 and the Sir Banister Fletcher Prize for his book, informal in 2005. His other publications include Crossover (2013), Element (2007) and Number 9 (1998). Balmond's art has been exhibited internationally to critical acclaim in galleries such as the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Graham Foundation (Chicago), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen), Artists Space (New York) and Arc en Rêv (Bordeaux, France). Famous for his large scale public art, Balmond's sculptures include the Orbit designed for the London Olympics 2012, and also the award winning Snow Words in Alaska, named one of the top public artworks in the US for 2013.

Ongoing public art commissions include: a sculpture for the $203 million Wilson Station reconstruction in Chicago; a shade sculpture for Mesa Arts Centre, Arizona; the Lens sculpture in Black Hawk Ped Mall in Iowa City, Iowa; Spectrum in the 88 Scott development, Toronto; and a work for Perseverance Park - an urban park redevelopment in Syracuse, New York. For press enquiries please email Sarah Gormley on