Janet Echelman illuminated 1.8 installation is suspended above Oxford Circus in London at the moment – much to visitors’ excitement. The American artist’s huge woven sculpture is created based on data from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 and is part of the Lumiere London event, which started on 14 January. This fabric structure is an awe-inspiring sight, hanging between four buildings at the crossroads of the Oxford Circus junction. The artwork exhibits the creative power of fabric, which is also becoming a much-desired material for the interior ceilings of buildings.
Art Inspired by Nature
The inspiration for the artwork was a combination of the billowing fishing nets the artist saw while on a trip to India and the tsunami and earthquake that rocked Japan in 2011. This environmental disaster caused such strong vibrations that the Earth’s rotation was momentarily sped up by 1.8 microseconds. This mathematical issue was turned into a 3D image by Echelman, using fabric to create a billowing artwork. This structure attracted thousands of visitors and art lovers during the Lumiere London event, which saw many illuminated artworks coming to life at night.
Tensile Fabric in Architecture
In addition to creating an aesthetic effect, tensile fabric structures offer a visually attractive material to create ceilings for buildings. The material is strong and offers a convenient alternative to conventional stretch ceiling systems. Tensile roofs can be retractable, offering the flexibility to move the roofing material depending on environmental needs.
The growing popularity of fabric architecture means there is a strong demand for tensile fabric roofs for both interior and exterior projects. These kind of retractable roofs are ideal for large buildings such as football stadia, while the canopy roofs which are possible using fabric can enhance the look of a building and offer wind shields without the distracting addition of a brick wall. Fabric ceilings look especially modern, and this helps to inject a contemporary style into a building by improving the existing aesthetics.
The link between art and architecture has never been more apparent because of the popularity of suspended fabric artworks. Echelman has created other aerial sculptures, including a large piece that was suspended above a Boston park last year. The illumination adds an extra layer of magic to the effect. If architecture follows this artwork inspiration, ceilings and canopies could also be illuminated.