By Zona Marie Tan

Pixar Animation Studios has unveiled a gigantic sculpture of its most-loved icon Luxo Jr, at its California headquarters, presented as a gift from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne.

ACMI Director, Tony Sweeney, handed over the giant lamp to Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer, John Lasseter and President, Dr. Ed Catmull. The gift of the 6.5-meter tall Luxo Jr was a gesture of friendship by ACMI, who created the world’s largest Luxo lamp in conjunction with the ‘Pixar: 20 Years of Animation’ exhibit.

‘Australia fell in love with Luxo Jr during its three month appearance at ACMI, and so it seems did the team of Pixar, especially John Lasseter,’ Sweeney said in a media release. ‘Our collaboration in presenting ‘Pixar: 20 Years of Animation’ to Australian audiences reflected our shared creativity and vision, and we’re very excited to have a continuing relationship and lasting legacy with Pixar through the Aussie made Luxo Jr.’

Said Lasseter of the exhibit: ‘It was an amazingly successful collaboration between two like minded organisations and we now have Luxo Jr as a lasting legacy of our wonderful friendship.’

Luxo Jr is made of steel and fibreglass and lit by 18 energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs. It had to be completely dismantled and a manual was specially written for the folks at Pixar to put him back together.

‘It took seven weeks for Luxo Jr to be shipped to San Francisco,’ explained Cory Parfett, spokesperson at ACMI. ‘Upon arrival, the San Francisco Council decided that he would have to be earthquake proofed. So the engineers spent time doing that before he was reassembled at the front steps of Pixar HQ in time for the unveiling.’

And yes, the ball went too, but was shipped intact.

Luxo Jr stood magnificently at ACMI as a landmark entrance for the exhibit from late June to October last year, but now calls Pixar’s Emeryville studios home.

Animated short, Luxo Jr (1986, dir. John Lasseter) was Pixar’s first film. The Luxo lamp became the studio’s icon, while the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film (1987).

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