Fashion Island Wind Chimes – Newport Beach, California - Atlas Obscura

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Fashion Island Wind Chimes

These were the largest wind chimes in the world when artist Tom Van Sant created them for a California mall in 1967. 


Most regular shoppers at Fashion Island pass by the Macy’s wall, barely noticing the bells, perhaps enjoying the melodic sounds. However, the newcomer, or one less intent on making their way into the outdoor mall, may wonder why there is a wall full of huge bronze bells on a mid-century department store building.

The Macy’s building (originally Robinson’s) was designed by the modernist architect, and Oscar winner, William Pereira. It was built in 1967 along with the rest of the original outdoor mall. Pereira worked with California artist Tom Van Sant to provide art for several of his buildings and in this case, the artist provided a sculptural wind chime.

What appear to be bells filling the three-story wall segment are actually coverings for smaller wind chime pipes. The coverings reduce the sound of the massive sculpture to a pleasant level. Seventy-three coverings each contain 10 pipes, forming the largest wind chime in the world in 1967, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The record has since been broken, but the art remains to be admired.

Know Before You Go

The Macy’s building is an anchor store on the south end of the oval-shaped mall. It is the main entrance point if you arrive from the Pacific Coast Highway. You can see (and hear) the giant wind chime from the parking lot. After viewing the wind chime up close, take the time to appreciate the mid-century architecture of the building and then ride the outdoor escalator up into the rest of the mall where you can see more Pereira-designed buildings.

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April 18, 2022

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