Artwork made from perforated aluminium strong enough to stand on
This huge artwork resembling coral, called Under Magnitude and made by architect Marc Fornes and his studio The Very Many, is made of strips of white, hand-curved perforated aluminium, which are riveted together. Each piece has a thickness of just one millimetre (0.04 inch), but is bent in such a way that it is strong enough to stand on.
The installation, which is hanging in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, is a network of tubular branches. It is a self-supported structure, composed of sub elements, yet made of a single continuous surface. In total, over 4,600 strips of perforated aluminium are used to make the two-storey structure.
According to the studio, “each stripe assumes high degrees of curvature individually and high degrees of double curvature in accumulation – amounting to extreme structural rigidity throughout the project.”
The work is a response to the work of German architect and engineer Frei Otto, who determined that a soap bubble, when blown up to the size of a room, is more structurally performant than a box. This is known as extensive curvature; “maximizing global double curvature to increase structural performance”.
Under Magnitude, on the other hand, uses intensive curvature, which the studio defines as “maximizing double curvature while constraining maximum radii”. The result is an installation that has tighter curvature with constant change of direction, with a more structural performance.
Instead of spanning a surface from one end of the room to the other, the installation uses a web of tubes, each splitting into two. This structural performance means that despite the thinness of the materials, the structure is strong enough to hold the weight of a person.
Under Magnitude is based on another work by The Very Many, called Labrys Frisae.