A new public art sculpture made of sand from 58 of the world’s deserts will transform the appearance of an olive grove outside of the Apple campus’ visitor centre by the summer of 2022. Named “Mirage” by Scottish artist Katie Paterson and the German architecture firm Zeller & Moye, the sculpture will consist of more than 400 solid cast glass columns made out of the various desert sands and formed into wave-like forms mimicking a desert dune.

Photos and 3D-impressions: Katie Paterson and Zeller & Moye

According to Paterson, Mirage will contain sand from subtropical deserts, coastal, rain-shadow, interior, mountainous, volcanic and fossilized deserts. It will be no small of a challenge to obtain sand from every desert in the world, melt it down to glass and assemble it in Cupertino. A project of this scale has never been realized before and it will require cooperation on a global level to achieve it.

Photos and 3D-impressions: Katie Paterson and Zeller & Moye

The aim of the installation is to spark wonder and awe, creating meaningful connections to nature in a gathering place that blends art, architecture, science, and nature. Mirroring the sculpture’s name, the glass forms will melt into the landscape like a desert mirage as they wind through the trees. Visitors interacting with the artwork are invited to slow down and tune into the immensity and preciousness of our planet as they move through the deserts of the world.
The project involves a large team of artists, architects, geologists and desert experts, all with the goal of creating an outdoor public space at the company’s Cupertino headquarters. TU Delft is participating in the project with its expertize on architectural and structural applications of cast glass, as well as with its in-depth knowledge of cast glass’s properties. The installation is aimed to be completed within 2022.


Funder: Apple
Overall budget:
Grant amount: € 
Contribution to TU Delft: € 
Role TU Delft:  R&D partner
Project duration: October 2021 - April 2023
TU Delft researchers:                 Dr.ir. Telesilla Bristogianni
Dr.ir. Faidra Oikonomopoulou 
Prof.dr. auro Overend 


Project partners

Apple, Katie Paterson, Zeller & Moye, EOC Engineers


Dr. Faidra Oikonomopoulou