Hm Loves Des Moines!

Hm Loves Des Moines, Homemakers Furniture, des moines, iowa, urbandale

We adore the city of Des Moines, and we’re constantly being inspired by our surroundings. Recently, members of our team visited the 4.4 acre John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines. Open to the public since 2009, the sculpture park boasts famous artwork by 22 of the world’s most celebrated artists, and is home to 28 unique works of art.

While we were wandering among giant pieces of art, it struck us that there are pieces in our showroom that feature similar styles and themes as some of the pieces in the sculpture park. Read on as we share some of our favorite “inspired by Des Moines” items – all available right here at Homemakers!

JUNO, Deborah Butterfield

Inspired by horses, many of Deborah Butterfield’s sculptures are based on real animals, each with their own personality. JUNO is introspective and bashful, and was created through a nearly three month-long process. From the Des Moines Art Center‘s website: “Perhaps the most striking aspect of Butterfield’s sculptures is their ability to fool the eye with the materials from which they are made. The horses are created through a meticulous process that takes nearly three months to complete. The artist begins by selecting a handful of substantial branches that are then individually cast and reassembled to form the basic shape for each horse. Butterfield then attaches real sticks to the metal armature until she achieves the gesture and demeanor she wishes to portray. The sculpture is then meticulously photographed and disassembled so the individual wooden elements can be cast in bronze. Finally, the metal branches are reattached to the original armature and a patina is applied to the bronze that enhances the look and texture of wood.

While we carry smaller equestrian-inspired accessories online, like the Uttermost Horse Head Plaque and the Uttermost Horses Wall Art, we were especially struck by the living room set up in our Thomasville Gallery. The blue walls made us think of the sunny blue skies downtown, and the canvas prints of wild horses are so beautiful. The small wooden horse statue puts the finishing touch on this equestrian-themed living space, and is a small tribute to it’s much larger relative in the sculpture park downtown.


Gary Hume’s art is distinguished by bright colors and simplified forms. Hume is a painter and a sculptor, something you can tell by observing the smooth, glossy surface of these sculptures. Their smooth finish makes them unlike any other work in the sculpture park. According to the Des Moines Art Center‘s website, the title “Back of Snowman” is meant to be a clever joke on the viewer, as no amount of circling these sculptures will reveal the snowman’s front.

MARRIAGE, Tony Smith

From the Des Moines Art Center: “Tony Smith’s earliest sculptures date to his days spent quarantined from his family while he recovered from tuberculosis. The ample supply of medicine boxes used to treat his illness provided the medium for his small scale models and his imagination. Smith’s long career in architecture was also highly influential on his output as a sculptor, evidenced most directly in the large scale of his work and the building-like manner in which his shapes interact with their surrounding space.”

The more geometric rugs in our rug gallery, like the blue & cream one from the Infinity collection shown above, reminded us of the sharp edges and straight lines of the Marriage sculpture. Other great rugs to consider from the Infinity collection: this mocha & cream rug and this cobalt & white number.

T8, Mark di Suvero

One of the last pieces to be installed in the sculpture park, Mark di Suvero’s “T8” was also one of the most difficult. The giant sculpture was brought in in pieces on a flatbed truck, and required two cranes to be assembled. T8 can be viewed from all angles, including from underneath, which is a departure from sculptures of the past that could only be viewed on a pedestal.

The lines of the Davke Accent Table instantly reminded us of the T8 sculpture downtown. This handsome accent table features a crisscross iron frame, forged iron ring accents and an antiqued gold leaf finish. The simple, tempered glass top lets the striking base truly shine.

Nomade, Jaume Plensa

One of the most popular and iconic works at the sculpture park is Nomade, by Jaume Plensa. Plensa uses letters as the main component of most of his art, and seeks to explore communication issues between individuals and cultures. The sculpture is engaging on many levels, as it can be viewed from far away, up close, inside, beneath, etc. From the Des Moines Art Center: “Plensa’s screens of letters offer a metaphor for human culture, in which a person alone has limited potential, but when formed into groups or societies, becomes stronger.”

The Levon Showood Accent Chair from Ashley conveys the same sort of captivating simplicity as the Nomade. Featuring clean lines and a unique geometric base with a rich, dark finish, the neutral upholstery’s script motifs add chic style to any contemporary space. It will also add a splash of downtown Des Moines inspiration to any room it’s in, whether it be a bedroom, living area or entryway.

Panoramic Awareness Pavilion, Olafur Eliasson

From the Des Moines Art Center: “Panoramic awareness pavilion (2013), was created for the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa.  It is at once a large-scale light sculpture, which demands distance for proper appreciation, and a pavilion, which invites its audience to enter, explore, and engage with the work from within the structure. The work is composed of twenty-three panes of partially silvered coloured glass, held upright by steel frames and installed in a circle with an opening on the north side.  Each glass pane is treated with reflective coating so that the edges of the glass are opaque mirrors that fade to transparent coloured-glass strips at the centre. Viewed from the outside, the work presents a circular colour spectrum interrupted by fragmentary perspectives of the surrounding sculpture park. At night, a fresnel lamp mounted on a tripod at the centre of the sculpture illuminates the work from within, creating a kaleidoscopic rainbow effect and interacting with the city lights beyond.

We love the bright rainbow colors of the Panoramic Awareness Pavilion! What better way to get a splash of ROY G. BIV across your own floors than an eye-catching rainbow rug. Some of our favorites include the Sphinx Kaleidoscope Rug, the Loloi Barcelona Geometric Rug, and the Loloi Barcelona Rainbow Shag Rug.

Are you inspired by Des Moines? We’d love to see how you incorporate some of your favorite downtown looks into your own home. Stay tuned for more in this series – and let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see!

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This post is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by the Des Moines Art Center. All opinions are our own. Quotes from the Des Moines Art Center website.

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