Mayor, city officials and artists dedicate striking 42-foot sculpture created using pieces of Joe Louis Arena at newly renovated Riverside Park

  • Sculpture, The “Path of Life”, created by Detroit artists using pieces of Joe Louis Arena
  • Art commissioned and donated to the city by the Adamo Family to celebrate city’s renaissance
  • Will mark the entrance of newly renovated Riverside Park and the beginning of the Joe Louis Greenway

Mayor Duggan today joined city officials, the Adamo Family and celebrated Detroit artists Israel and Erik Nordin to dedicate a beautiful new piece of art, The “Path of Life”, located along the Grand Boulevard Promenade at Riverside Park. The Nordin Brothers were commissioned to create this original design by the Adamo Family to celebrate our great city and the path we all take together to make a brighter future for Detroit.

The sculpture incorporates artifacts from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena structure, the steel infused into the artwork, capturing the memory of the arena, and meant to echo the current renaissance of Detroit. The Nordin Brothers are Detroit artists who have lived and worked in the city for decades. They own and operate the Detroit Design Center, which is comprised of a studio on Michigan Avenue west of Downtown and a gallery in Midtown. Their artwork can be seen around the State of Michigan, from Belle Isle to Muskegon.

This striking piece by the Nordin Brothers will be yet another reason for people to visit the newly renovated Riverside Park. “Erik and Israel have created a piece that truly speaks to the struggles and successes of Detroiters,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We thank them for their work and the Adamo Family for this generous donation which brings yet another piece of beautiful art for Detroiters and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.”

Mayor Duggan, the Nordin Brothers, Adamo Group and City team in front of Riverside Park newest sculpture.
Mayor Duggan, the Nordin Brothers, Adamo Group and City team in front of Riverside Park newest sculpture.


“The Adamo Group and family are honored and humbled to have participated in the creation of the wonderful “Path of Life” art piece dedicated today,” said Richard Adamo, President of Adamo Group, Inc. “The Adamo organization and family have been rooted in the City of Detroit since 1964, and we are extremely proud of the longevity of our relationships with the City of Detroit and its many historical sites and great people. Through our work, we are uniquely positioned to dedicate artifacts that memorialize not only renowned structures, but also the namesakes for those structures.  We thank all the collaborators on this project, especially the City of Detroit and Erik and Israel Nordin of the Detroit Design Center, whose vision is world-class, for this opportunity.”

Like the sculpture they created for Belle Isle, “One World…Under Michigan Stars”; the Riverside set of sculptures took about a year to complete. “We are so proud to have created this art piece for Riverside Park. It was both challenging and exhilarating to integrate giant I-beams from the Joe Louis Arena structure in the centerpiece. We love hockey, the Joe was a magical place, and is in our hearts,” said brothers Erik and Israel Nordin of the Detroit Design Center. “Public art is so crucial, to bring people together, inspire thought and create conversations.  Detroit is our city, where we live, work, and create.”

During the 2015 Riverside Park Master Planning process with the community, the main entry into the park was identified as needing an iconic focal point. When determining the best location for this spectacular new design, the City of Detroit Chief of Landscape Architecture, Tim Karl, knew exactly where it belonged. “When we were determining placement for this piece of art, we shared several locations throughout the city, but I knew when it belonged - at Riverside,” said Karl. “Now when I reflect on the main beams of the piece coming from the Joe Louis Area placed right here at the foot of West Grand Boulevard, which is part of the Joe Louis Greenway, I know this location was meant to be.”

“The Joe Louis Greenway Partnership is proud to partner with the City of Detroit as a steward here to activate the Joe Louis Greenway centering the voices of the residents,” said Leona Medley Executive Director, Joe Louis Greenway Partnership. “Detroit has long been a cosmopolitan city where culture and art converge, this installation at Riverside Park is another example of the creative genius and powerful voices that reverberate in this dynamic city that we call home.”

About the design:

The “Path of Life” is a set of 3 sculptures, two sculptural walls with doorways and a 40-foot sculpture. The sculpture is made of I-beams, the turns within the piece representing changes in life. The Nordins say just like people, cities go through changes. We all have successes and struggles that create the timeline of our lives. 

The stainless-steel Gridcube is inspired by a topographical map of a city.  Buildings, streets, and cars all are part of that architecture.  The cube is visualized as the Heart of Detroit growing towards the sky with its path leading the way.  The organic peak of the sculpture symbolizes the organic growth to a higher place. The blue hand-cast glass symbolizes our precious water in Michigan.

The LifeTree steel walls stem from a deconstructed cube, with doorways to travel through. This deconstructed cube is symbolic of our foundations, both as family and as a city. It symbolizes the strength of two, like a handshake. Previous generations can open doors for future generations. Together we can create a brighter future for ourselves and our great city.

About Detroit Design Center:

The Nordin Brothers create Statement Pieces. One-of-a-kind objects. Works of art that will tell your story.  They describe themselves as "artists who create objects for spaces". They specialize in glass, metal, wood, and other mediums. Together they create fine art and functional objects. The Detroit Design Center is home for their work. The Nordins have been creating objects for 20 years in Detroit.  Their studio space is located at 6100 Michigan Avenue in Detroit, a 12,000 sq ft space with 2 cranes allowing plenty of space to create their pieces.  

The Design Center offers unique objects, not mass-produced products that can be ordered from a catalog. The 4000 sq ft Detroit Design Center Gallery and event space is located in the heart of Midtown.

The “Path of Life” artists, Israel and Erik Nordin.
The “Path of Life” artists, Israel and Erik Nordin.