Lucent by Wolfgang Buttress in the John Hancock Center lobby Credit: Jeffery C. Johnson

No longer do John Hancock Center visitors have to trek up 94 floors to the observation deck to get an eyeful. Since May, the building’s lobby has become an attraction all its own thanks to Lucent, a dazzling permanent installation by UK sculptor Wolfgang Buttress.  

The artist collaborated with an astrophysicist from Australian National University to create the sculpture, which purports to accurately map the 3,106 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the northern hemisphere. Constructed by Vector Custom Fabricating, on the near west side, the luminous semisphere, made of stainless steel, glass, and fiber-optic wires, simulates the twinkling of the night sky.

The sculpture is mounted on a mirrored ceiling, creating the illusion of a complete orb, and reflected in a black granite pool below that Buttress has said “suggests a sense of infinity.” I’m not so sure about all that, but the installation is certainly enough to stop any Mag Mile shopper in his or her tracks.

LucentCredit: Sue Kwong