The Angel Building Sculpture

Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness London, Photos, Architect, Design

The Angel Building Sculpture

The Angel Building Installation, Islington, UK – design by Ian McChesney Studio

14 Feb 2011

Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness

The Angel Building, Islington, north east London, England

Design: Ian McChesney Studio

The Angel Building Sculpture,

Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness
image : Ian McChesney

Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness is a stunning new sculpture by Ian McChesney for the Angel Building in London. The shape of the piece was generated by allowing treacle to fall from a spoon – the resulting form is then inverted. The unit comprises an oval seating area from which extends a narrow twenty two metre high spar – that’s over 5 double decker buses. The title is taken from the motto on the Lyles Black Treacle tin which, in turn is a reference to a story in the Old Testament. It is fabricated from carbon fibre which is both strong and very light enabling it to be incredibly slender. At the foot of the piece is a seating area upholstered in leather by designer Bill Amberg.

Angel Building Sculpture Angel Building Sculpture London Angel Building Installation London
photos : Peter Cook

The piece was commissioned by developer Derwent London for the Angel Building, a new office development near the Angel underground station in Islington, London. The building was designed by architects AHMM.

About the Piece by Ian McChesney

Our brief from Derwent was simple, to propose an artwork for the atrium of the Angel Building that might also provide an opportunity for public seating and interaction. The atrium was to be an impressive space designed by Architects AHMM, rigorously detailed and beautifully crafted. We were aware that a light touch might be the best approach. We were initially given just drawings and images of the space, a rough model of the atrium was constructed to help us understand the shape and nature of the atrium. This would also provide an opportunity to experiment placing differing forms in the model using pieces of wire and strips of card etc. A fine strand-like form emerged, gently leaning from the entrance, not competing too strongly with the surrounding architecture but cutting a line through it, holding its symmetry and drawing the eye upwards.

Angel Building Sculpture Angel Building Sculpture London Angel Building Installation London
photos : Peter Cook

We wanted the piece to be fluid in form, in contrast with the very rational nature of the surrounding building. It was important that the shape was generated through a real process rather than mere invention. Remembering how treacle glides off a teaspoon we set about experimenting. What was elegant about the treacle was that as it fell from the spoon a sinuous tapering curve form was generated. So in an instant the shape of the piece was born, the elliptical spoon shape would provide the seat and base, the long strand the spar rising up the atrium. The title of the piece ‘Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness’ appears as a motto on the Lyles treacle tin and is in turn a biblical reference from chapter 14 of the Book of Judges. While this provided a direct link to the piece, the phrase had a resonance with the form.

The piece is made from carbon fibre which is both very strong and lightweight. We worked with engineers Atelier One in the initial instance to analyse the structural properties of the spar, the width of which was arrived at by a process of calculated trial and error. The form was then designed in more detail by engineers Gurit using computer based ‘Finite Element Analysis’. It was subsequently built on the Isle of Wight by AM Structures a fabricator with origins in boat building. The piece is 22 metres high and narrows to 100mm diameter at the midpoint, and 25mm at the tip.

Angel Building Sculpture Angel Building Sculpture London Angel Building Installation London
photos : Peter Cook

Video of the Angel Building installation:

About Ian McChesney

Ian McChesney has been working as an independent architect, designer and sculptor since the formation of his Studio in 2001. Commissions include rotating wind shelters for Blackpool’s promenade, an award-winning park pavilion in Preston and a range of small batch produced lamps. He is now working on a roadside artwork for the five kilometre stretch of the A66 dual carriageway in Middlesbrough.

His cross disciplinary approach reflects his varied education through an art school rather than architectural education system. He first took an Art Foundation course at Chesterfield College of Art, followed by a degree in Three Dimensional Design at Kingston, moving on to the Royal College of Art’s Interior Design and Architecture Course. He then worked for Architects John McAslan a during which time he became a fully registered architect.

The studio has won a number of accolades including Finalist in the BD Young architect of the year 2008, and The Architects’ Journal 40 under 40, awards included Civic Trust Awards for its work in both Blackpool and Preston. Ian regularly contributes to a range of advisory panels including Southwark Design Review Panel and the Transport for London Design Review Panel.

Ian McChesney building : Preston park pavilion

About the Angel Building

The Angel Building is a new 250,000 sq ft office building. It was designed by Architects AHMM and was commissioned by developer Derwent London. Angel Building is the re-invention of an unloved early 1980’s commercial building located on one of London’s historic focal points where City Road and St John Street meet Pentonville Rd. The existing concrete frame is re-used and re-wrapped with a highly energy-efficient glazed skin which extends the building’s envelope at selective points to create a better fit with the surrounding context. An existing open courtyard is enclosed to form an internal, top-lit public room entered off St John Street which acts as the heart of the building.

The Angel Building
Angel Building
photograph © Nick Weall

Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness – Sculpture Information

Design: Ian McChesney
Developer: Derwent London
Building architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Photographs: Peter Cook

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris – AHMM

Location: The Angel underground station, Islington, London, England, UK

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