The Faithful Press on Cleveland's Giant, Outdoor Chandelier

Here‘s Cleveland’s “architecture critic” Steven Litt defending the construction of a giant, outdoor chandelier in downtown Cleveland.

The crux of Litt’s argument seems to be if a woman from Vermont was standing under it and taking a picture of it, criticisms of this project can’t be legitimate. Litt reported on this project many times and each time he alluded to unnamed “critics” who think the project is tacky and/or a waste of money (The city of Cleveland, which has a 54 percent child poverty rate, contributed $1 million to the construction project).

Litt never found the time to talk to a single critic. In every instance he deferred to Art Falco, the director of Playhouse Square, who — by the way — does not think the project is a waste of money and/or tacky.

So far, the only national press I’ve seen weigh in on this was renown tastemaker USA Today — “hey look, Cleveland built a giant outdoor chandelier” — and Gizmodo — “here’s how a giant outdoor chandelier is even constructed.” The other publications that might be interested in a large-scale new public space installation in a U.S. city have mostly been silent. (Being polite?)

If all we need to determine the architectural quality of something is to interview a passerby, what do we need an “architecture critic” for at all? What large-scale decorative object installed in downtown Cleveland would warrant criticism from Steven Litt?

Where was the design community on this? Not speaking with the press, that’s for sure. Why is that?

–Angie Schmitt


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