This September, in collaboration with Greenwich Peninsula, the London Design Festival has commissioned A bullet from a shooting star, a Festival Landmark Project and outdoor installation at Greenwich Peninsula by British sculptor Alex Chinneck, taking the unconventional form of an inverted electricity pylon.
The 35-metre high structure has been designed to be seen from a distance, and can be viewed from North Greenwich Station, the Emirates Airline cable car, the Thames Clipper service, Canary Wharf and all planes that fly to and from City Airport. Illuminated at night, the work acts as a literal beacon and will project a maze of latticed shadows.
A bullet from a shooting star contains a combined length of 1186m of steel weighing 15 tons. There are 450 pieces of steel with 900 engineered connection points. The foundations will include 19m deep piles within 78m³ of concrete.
Referencing the industrial history of the site which once included the largest oil and gas works in Europe and a steelworks, Alex Chinneck will create a lattice of steel, that resembles an upside down pylon, leaning at a precarious angle as though shot into the earth. The construction and materials will reflect the same visual and material language of multiple structures across the Peninsula, particularly the redundant gas tower located on site while also evoking the idea of power generation and supply.
To complement the external installation, NOW Gallery will house Straight jacket star jumps, a 20-metre-long curled up pylon opening 19 September. The work creates a physical and material tension between the object and the glass space in which it stands. Like a ship in a glass bottle, the wound-up 20-metre-long pylon defies logic to fit within the 7-metre-high space, coiling under apparent tension to fit within the room.
Both installations defy logic through structural deception by presenting the same object in a very different way: A bullet from a shooting star is outstretched and confident whereas Straight jacket star jumps is reserved, recoiled and contained.
Chinneck's indoor and outdoor works have been conceived to share a dialogue that links the East and the West of the Peninsula. Physically separated yet sculpturally connected they will encourage visitors to explore both areas of the expansive and extraordinary district and unravel its rich history.
Alex Chinneck says "Every project I produce is contextually sensitive and so each installation responds to the environment that supports, surrounds and includes it. It is this philosophy that distinguishes the sculptural decisions behind the two installations. In a similar fashion to my previous projects, which have seen bricks bend, stone hover and tarmac curl, the effortlessly rolling metal transcends its material nature by assuming an apparent and pleasing flexibility."
Jemima Burrill, NOW Gallery curator, says "The enigmatic nature of Alex Chinneck's exploration of materials made him the perfect candidate for a NOW Commission. We are always looking for work that will surprise and delight our audiences giving them an insight into a design world but at the same time questioning what design is. Chinneck is also creating a significantly larger work in collaboration with London Design Festival on the peninsula. His investigation of the pylon theme stretches and curls up, exploring how this significant form can work in different environments. Chinneck's past work both in scale and ambition left us sure he would respond to the both spaces in an exciting and unusual way. We look forward to seeing the results."