Il Grando Disco (also known as The Grand Disc) is a round, coin-shaped piece of art found in the Bank of America Plaza on Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte. The piece is a large bronze wheel with dark edges and engraved designs on both sides. The piece has a weird, futuristic feel to it and almost appears to be tearing at its seams. This piece was created specifically for the space by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, Il Grande Disco and was installed on October 2, 1974.
There are five more “Il Grande Disco” sculptures around the world, all with a similar design and all installed in the same time period. Similar sister pieces are found on the campus of the University of Chicago (where it was installed in 1968), in Piazza Filippo Meda, in Milan, Italy (this was installed in 1980), at the Theatro Strehler in Milan (where it was installed in 1972), in the Donald Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase, New York (this was installed in 1974), and at the Georg Büchner monument in Darmstadt, Germany (this was installed in 1973).
In previous years, the sculpture slowly rotated on an axis, and people who walked could even rotate it on their own by pushing it. However, these days it is anchored in place and not moving at all.
Given that it is located right on a main street in Uptown Charlotte, and since it definitely stands out as unique, this is a popular stop for tourist photos. This was probably one of the best known works of public art in Charlotte until the installation of the “chicken disc” in recent years. The sculpture has been featured in several films shot in Charlotte, one of which is the 2002 film Juwanna Mann.
There is a plaque attached to the piece with a quote from the artist, Pomodoro, which reads:
«’Our life today is one of crisis… of movement… of tension. We don’t know what our world will turn into. I am trying to say something about this uncertainty in my work. I try to communicate a sense of vitality. and connecting with the movement of life today… and being part of its movement.
The social challenge of art today, in my opinion, is to start a dialogue with people.
I hope that’s what happens here with the Big Disc.
October 2, 1974
A Gift to the People of Charlotte by NCNB and Carter & Associates «
Il Grande Disco is just one of Charlotte’s great works of public art.