Tower of tiles

An artist's $1 million mosaic adds vibrant color to an Iowa highway intersection.

By Maggie Overfelt, FSB contributor

(FSB Magazine) -- Drivers passing Des Moines on the Interstate now have more to admire than the Iowa plains. The Paragon Prairie Tower rises 120 feet in a blaze of colored glass where I-35 and I-80 meet in Urbandale.

Commissioned by R&R Realty Group (rrrealty.com) for its new business park, the $1 million column displays a mosaic of corn, native wildflowers, and wheat. A crew of marble artisans spent a year gluing one million one-inch tiles to the structure.

paragon_prairie_tower.03.jpg

"In planning more than 200 acres of commercial development, R&R could have done it in a manner that doesn't add to the quality of life. This cultural piece goes back to our Iowan roots," says Robert Layton, Urbandale's city manager. RDG Dahlquist (rdgusa.com) - a three-year-old firm that incorporates artwork into commercial buildings - designed the structure.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.