The Wellcome Trust
The name of this sculpture derives from the method in which its form was created. Molten lead dropped in to cold water freezes instantaneously and the 5 cm long frozen piece of lead was then scaled up to a 27 m high sculpture suspended in the eight storey atrium of the Wellcome Trust headquarters in London. The intricate surface of the frozen lead ingot was replicated with 142,000, 40 mm diameter glass spheres, suspended on 27,000, 0.5 mm diameter stainless steel wires.
The whole sculpture is cantilevered 5 m from the nearest building structure so not only does the 12 tonnes of glass place heavy demands on the building’s stability system but a further 12 tonnes of tension is generated in the 27,000 springs at the vase of each wire. The assembly of the structure was made possible by the automatic production of 4,000 sets of data sheets so the build teams who worked in shifts around the clock knew exactly where each of the glass spheres was to be positioned on each wire.