Project Feature: Engineering Sculptures That Celebrate a Community
In 2018, Entuitive partnered with Acrylicize, a collective of artists, designers, and craftsmen, to bring to life their unique vision to celebrate the city of Manchester.
The Piccadilly Place Table Lamps, also known as the Manchester Lamps, are an installation comprising five giant table lamp sculptures in Piccadilly Place in the heart of Manchester. Acrylicize envisioned an installation that would serve to honour the city’s rich history.
Each table lamp represents a different artistic style and local historical innovation. For example, the Art Deco lamp honours Ernest Rutherford, whose research in 1932 at Manchester University led to the splitting of the first atom.
Entuitive ensured the structural soundness and durability of the lamps, which serve as a landmark and interactive installation. The lamps were also shortlisted for a DARC Award.
Our team collaborated with Acrylicize as well as the fabricator to develop details that simplified fabrication of the complex lamp geometry, allowing for deconstruction for transport followed by quick erection once on site to limit construction time.
“The Piccadilly Lamps were a joy to work on,” says Greg Riewe, associate at Entuitive. “When form and function are one, as in artistic works such as the lamps, you really have to get creative in your thinking and collaborative in your work flow to help achieve the designer’s vision. It is extremely fulfilling to see the final product come to fruition.”
Understanding an Artist’s Needs
At Entuitive we follow three principles when it comes to engineering art, namely artistic intent, collaboration, and creative thinking.
Realizing an artist’s vision means understanding their concept and focus. What is their intent with the artwork? Answering this question gives us parameters within which to work and tells us what we can structurally alter and what we must strictly adhere to.
There is something special about partnering with artists to help make their artwork and creative vision come to life. It’s an iterative process during which we work closely with artists until we land on a structurally sound solution that expresses their intent.
It’s not only the artist who gets to exercise creativity on such a project. Creative thinking is required from the engineering side as well. We think beyond building code to ask what’s possible from a structural point of view. At Entuitive, we don’t say no to an idea, we ask what’s possible.
Bringing an Artistic Vision to Life
Art installations rely on engineering judgement and first principle applications to provide designs that ensure public safety while also realizing the artist’s vision. Because each work of art is unique, we cannot work from a manual of processes and procedures.
Rather, we must go back to the foundational principles of engineering and work our way up from there.
Reasoning from first principles opens us up to possibilities, rather than shutting down ideas because they may not fit the mould.
For the Piccadilly Place Lamps this meant determining feasible load applications from natural (e.g. wind and snow) and unforeseen mis-use of the sculptures, as well as rationalizing what an acceptable response in the structure would be due to these loads.
“Delivering on artistic pieces is important to us. We aim to design structures and systems that support a sustainable future. To me, that includes sustaining the spirit,” says Riewe.
Working with Entuitive
Entuitive is a consulting engineering practice that brings together an entrepreneurial spirit with intuition, creativity, collaboration, and advanced technologies. Collectively we have decades of knowledge and expertise in the delivery of cultural projects. Our portfolio includes:
“In Anticipation” Art Installation, Principal Place, London, UK
“Wonderland” Wire Sculpture, The Bow, Calgary, Canada
Minster Court Atrium Artwork, London, UK
Pianodrome, Edinburgh, UK
Bleigiessen, London, UK
And many more.
To see more visit https://www.entuitive.com/project/#cultural.
*Photos courtesy of Acrylicize