Orr considered a single column and a double column version of "Prime Matter," a series of fountains he designed after visiting cultic sites in Egypt and Zaire. Combining air, fire, water and the natural elements of the earth, this series was inaugurated in 1981 when Orr executed a 20' tall work for the "Museum as Site" show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Subsequent versions were installed in Denver, Japan, Sweden and West Los Angeles. For the installation in downtown Los Angeles, the developer, Mitsui-Fudosan and the development manager, Gerald D. Hines Interests, accepted Orr's double column version. Orr proceeded to fabricate the work after the Arts Advisory Committee approved the "Preliminary Schematics" in May 1988. His final art plan was approved by the committee in December 1988. After Orr and the building's architect, David Martin of Albert C. Martin & Associates, collaborated in designing a 5' high black granite clad plinth, the Fire Department recommended raising it to 8' for safety reasons. Orr accepted the Fire Department's advice and felt the final height was symbolically appropriate because 8 is a lucky number in China.
"L.A. Prime Matter" consists of two 32' high triangular bronze towers at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Figueroa. Specially designed ridges in the sides of the towers form patterns in the water that slowly flows down from the top. In contrast to other works in the "Prime Matter" series, in which the flame begins at the bottom and moves up, the fire in "L.A. Prime Matter" spilled down from the top. Though this work was conceived as juxtaposing light, fire and water, only water remains because two components no longer function.