Our third and final case study involves a client whose intimate knowledge of numbers plays a major role in his business as well as meditative life. His relationship with the interplay between numbers and geometry jumped off the 2 dimensional plane into the physical and tactile 3- dimensional world of sculpture. His impressive sculpture garden included large-scale works he had collected and many of his own ideas were also represented in various media.
Geometric progression, themes of family, and male/female relationships were conceptual threads that linked his previous efforts. This new idea combined these elements to generate two unique forms-a "male" angular figure and a "female" spherical figure, in contrasting colors. Red was chosen for the "female", and black for the "male".
Granite was the chosen medium, not only for its obvious advantages as an outdoor material and it's reflective properties and color, but also it's consistent compression and shear strength. Previously, a veined marble was used to construct a similar assembly, resulting in a very expensive pile of rubble, when hidden flaws finally succumbed to pressure and the piece collapsed. A memorable lesson in carefully selecting the right material!
Our client's idea had crystallized and it was time to execute. It was about this time when our role as collaborator/builder began. After consulting initially on material, color and scale, we began refining the composition with a 1/12 scale wooden maquette. Minor adjustments were made to limit stress, and the height was reduced from 11' high to 9', but essentially the overall design was not altered.
Next we sourced the material: black granite from China, and red granite from India. Each "figure" was to be constructed of all polished 12" square shafts of granite in lengths progressing from 6' to 7' to 8' to 9' pairs. Each individual piece had to be cut and polished, maintaining a perfect square,so the weight they were bearing would be evenly distributed on the contact surfaces. We used the time awaiting delivery to prepare critical foundation requirements. The longer lengths weighed nearly a ton each and the compositions were to be "stacked" horizontally, so 4' deep concrete foundations with perfectly level surfaces were necessary to support the weight and keep the pieces level over their 9' height.
With our foundations poured and cured, the trucking arrangements were made, and we prepared for delivery and the challenges of installing large work on private property. Because of the ascending and descending sizes of each individual piece, the manner in which they were lifted into place changed with each new course. Half the pieces cantilevered over the existing course, the other half needed to be balanced by a single dead-center hitch for a level lift. Polished granite makes for a slippery load! Careful handling by our client's grounds crew and crane operator ensured the entire assembly was finished without a scratch or chipped edge.
Back filling and landscaping were done over the course of the next few weeks and the sculpture became well integrated with its environment. Our client's calculated play with geometry, combined with the choice of color and polished granite's high reflectivity produced two dramatically contrasting, yet connected forms. The scale was such that one could climb into each piece for a totally new point of view. From the interior, the high polish created its own kaleidoscopic geometric patterns in constantly changing daylight. A successful piece on many different levels.
Consulting, sourcing material & handling: 20% of material cost
Installation fee: $4,000.00
Overall budget: figures not available
Materials: Oriental Black Granite, India Red Granite
Dimensions: 9' x 9' x 9' (both)