TAKE MY LIGHTING BUT DON'T STEAL MY THUNDER

TAKE MY LIGHTING BUT DON'T STEAL MY THUNDER

London, UNITED KINGDOM
Designer: Alex Chinneck

Brett Martin

Taking residence on the East Piazza at Covent Garden in London is a new and unique artwork which sees a section of the building magically levitate – with one of the key structural elements of the illusion provided by multiwall polycarbonate sheet. Modelled on the original architecture of the 184 year old market building, the artwork ‘Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder’, has been designed by London artist Alex Chinneck and built by a 100 strong team who have conjured up the illusion that a 40-foot-long building has broken from its stone base and then floated 10 feet into the air with bewildering weightlessness. With this unusual engineering marvel designed around both weight and aesthetics, the building had to be as light as possible but still look like a stone and brick building. Built from a steel and timber frame, the walls were created using strong, lightweight multiwall polycarbonate sheet. Polystyrene was then intricately carved using robotic hot-wire cutters, and glued to the polycarbonate sheet prior to the application of the plaster and granite sand finish to match the existing market building. Another type of polycarbonate sheets were chosen for the artwork for its exceptional strength and rigidity. Ordinarily used in roofing and glazing applications, the multiwall structure of PC sheets provides a very high stiffness to weight ratio. The sheet is strong yet light in weight, a key consideration for this architectural illusion. Following a pre-fit at the fabrication shop to ensure it all went together like a jigsaw puzzle, the artwork was then shipped by 10 arctic trucks and installed over 4 days at the Piazza. With this stunning floating building wowing visitors to Covent Garden, the use of multiwall polycarbonate has played a key role in this magical illusion, demonstrating the product’s versatility and durability in the most unusual of building applications.

  • Date: 25 Aug, 2015
  • Category: DESIGN
  • Client: Brett Martin