by LYDIA COBB | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Dance of Celebration

On the roundabout of S. Santa Fe and Eucalyptus is our city’s first permanent art commission. It is named Prima Vista, meaning “first sight” and was designed by Vista native Michael Angelo Venturella. “As with any design, it all started with the site,” said Michael. “It was important that the roundabout receive a sculpture that would be intriguing from all angles, instead of having a singular focal point.” Its thoughtful placement and design earned Prima Vista an Orchid & Onion architectural nomination.


It seems to move with our moves. Imagine two dancing entities joined by a touching embrace mid-step. Michael revealed, “The spiraling design provides a dynamic focal point that morphs as users navigate the roundabout.” The harmony of the piece is enhanced by the use of impervious Brazilian ipe (pronounced EE-pay) wood.

Michael, 27, holds a degree in architecture and is working to become a licensed architect. Prima Vista is his first public work and it honors his love for his hometown. He related, “The most enjoyable part about living here is seeing the city grow and blossom into a beautiful community.” Michael attended St. Francis of Assisi Parish School and graduated from Tri-City Christian School. As he put it, he “spent two years soul searching at Palomar College” before finding his focus at The NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego, where he received his B.A. in architecture. He’s inspired by the challenge, he said, “to make the abstract tangible.”

Name: Michael Angelo Venturella
Community: Vista
Favorite Places in Vista: Pepper Tree Frosty, new S. Santa Fe development, Main St.


Traveling and spending youthful summers in Italy has influenced his practice. Michael’s parents are from Sicily. He reminisced, “I was born in California, but most of my childhood memories involve playing soccer in the streets of Lascari, gathering in the piazzas, speaking with neighbors on our balconies, and enjoying the small town sense of community.” To stoke his creative side, Michael is a drummer in a new band, Schematics, with some of his longtime friends.

“I look forward to becoming a licensed architect and continuing to contribute to our beautiful city through many forms of design,” he added. “I aim to produce designs that look to the future, while nodding to the past.” Michael Venturella reimagined this roundabout – leading him down the road toward future inspirational works.