Quantum Cloud, London – Projects
- Art & Sculpture
- Antony Gormley
Elliott Wood was approached by sculptor Antony Gormley in March 1999 to develop a structural solution to support a unique sculpture of a man surrounded by a cloud of steel in time for the Millennium celebrations. The planned sculpture was 29m high, 16m wide and was to stand on top of four cast iron caissons in the River Thames, adjacent to the Millennium Dome.
The only way to complete the structure in time for the Millennium was to create an element that could be repeated throughout the model, but still appeared random. To achieve this look while maintaining stability, we designed a primary structure of 325 interconnected distorted tetrahedral units.
The units keep the points of a tetrahedral, but to ensure the sculpture’s random appearance none of the elements lie on the lines connecting these points. The cloud is formed from approximately 3600 square hollow sections of galvanised steel, each 70mm x 70mm x 1500mm long, welded together in an apparently random form to create an ellipsoidal cloud of steel. In the centre of this cloud the density of steel members was increased to form the shadowy shape of a man trapped within the cloud.
The forms of the steel tendrils which generate the cloud and figure have been created using chaos theory and fractal growth principles by applying rules to restrict the length, angle and rotation of each member.
Elliott Wood employed a mathematician specifically to define the geometry and develop the software to enable the tendrils to be created. The tendril’s highly complex shape meant that the steels were fabricated directly from computer output, without drawings. As a result of Elliott Wood’s design and use of computer methods, the project was completed in time for the Millennium celebrations.