Watch Again Webinars | Mitsu Edwards - A Disappearing Act | The engineering of sculptures

8th October 2020 

In this inspiring presentation our Associate Director Mitsu Edwards looks back at the engineering behind some amazing creations.

From artists such as Anilore Banon with her emotive ‘Les Braves’ piece, Anselm Kiefer with ‘Uraeus’ piece and Frank Stella with ‘Broken Jug’ which when standing underneath it, Mitsu describes the piece as having “an amazing frozen movement”.

The presentation gives a new appreciation for the work and energy which goes into the creation of the pieces, is a wonderful example of collaborative spirit and is an inspiring show of structural engineering applied in a different context.

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Acknowledgements :

Huge thanks to :

Mark di Suvero, Frank Stella, Anselm Kiefer, Susanna Fritscher, Thierry Vidé and all the other artists who have taught me so much about how to think;

My fellow engineers with whom these explorations have been shared : Denis Ouvrard, Sara Maggipinto, Carlo Fusari, Ben Buckley, Jonathan Jones, Phil Barrett, Niccolo Baldassini, Julie Lacombe, Emilie Hergott, Matt King, Bernard Vaudeville, Simon Aubrey, Majid Sefiane, and all the other wonderful colleagues who have grappled with these challenges together;

CMN, Metafer, SotralInox, Torsilieri, Atelier Anselm Kiefer, Polich Talix - the extraordinary fabricators whose creativity, skill and courage enabled these works to be built;

And finally, my very particular thanks to Martin Francis and Waltraud Forelli, without whom…Respect.

Image Credits :

Slide 2 : Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao : architect Frank Gehry – photo from the New York Times (Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Slide 3 : Jeff Koons unveils his seated ballerina inflatable sculpture at New York’s Rockefeller Center in May 2017 – The Independent (Mike Coppola/Getty)

Slide 4 : Construction of the Climate Ribbon™, Brickell City Centre, Miami– Hugh Dutton for Swire Properties

BizJournal – South Florida News – Brickell City Centre (Nina Lincoff)

Slides 5 and 11 : Mark di Suvero in 1998 finishing his sculpture « Pyramidian »”, 1987–1998, installed at Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York. (Photo: Jerry Thompson, © Mark di Suvero)

Slide 6 : Chapelle de Ronchamp, France 1954 : architect Le Corbusier. Website : abuildingaday.tumblr.com (Photo credit unknown)

Slide 7 : Frank Stella – « Broken Jug », aluminium, 1999 (Photo : Martin Francis)

Slide 8 : Mark di Suvero citywide exhibition in Paris, Esplanade des Invalides 1997.

(Photo: George Bellamy. © Mark di Suvero)

Slides 9 and 10 : Sculptures Mark di Suvero – « E=MC² », Cour des Lions Parc de la Villette 1996-97; and « Grace à Toi (Hommage à Michel Guy) », Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris 1997. Both Collection of the Artist. (Photos: George Bellamy. © Mark di Suvero)

Slide 11 : Catalogue « Mark di Suvero - Paris », Galérie Jeanne Bucher, 1997 (Photo : Pierre Plattier)

Slide 12 : Storm King Art Centre Press release, 15 july 2019 . L to R : Sculptures Mark di Suvero, Storm King New York : « Figolu », 2005–11, and « E=MC² », 1996-97. Both courtesy the artist and Spacetime C.C. © Mark di Suvero. (Photo courtesy Storm King Art Center :stormking.org)

Slides 13 and 16-21 : Susanna Fritscher, « Fur die Lüft » | « Nur mit Luft, mit Licht und mit Zeit » Musée des Arts de Nantes, 2017 (Photos courtesy of the Artist : susannafritscher.com)

Slides 14 and 15 : Drawings by Stanton Williams, Architect for the Musée d’Art Nantes, 2010-2017

Slide 15 : Engineering Analysis, “Fûr die Luft” | Nantes, 2016 (Credit : HDA- Hugh Dutton Associés)

Slide 22 : Susanna Fritscher, concept sketch « Fur die Lüft » | « Nur mit Luft, mit Licht und mit Zeit » for gallery 23, Louvre Abu Dhabi (Image courtesy of the Artist : susannafritscher.com)

Slides 23 and 24 : Site photos, Gallery 23 - Louvre Abu Dhabi, 2019 (Photos : Mitsu Edwards for Eckersley O’Callaghan - EOC Engineers)

Slides 25-29 : Engineering design studies, “Fûr die Luft” | Louvre Abu Dhabi, 2019 (Credit : Eckersley O’Callaghan - EOC Engineers)

Slide 27 : Fabrication detail by Metafer, “Fûr die Luft” | Louvre Abu Dhabi, 2019 (Credit : Eckersley O’Callaghan - EOC Engineers)

Slides 30-34 : Susanna Fritscher, « Fur die Lüft » | « Nur mit Luft, mit Licht und mit Zeit » Louvre Abu Dhabi, 2019-2021 (Photos courtesy of the Artist : susannafritscher.com)

Slide 35 : Frank Stella, Frontispiece “Frank Stella” published by Haus der Kunst Munchen, 1996

Frank Stella demonstrates the Brasilian Beach Hat, page 18 of “Frank Stella at Two Thousand” published by Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, 2000

Slides 36 & 39 : Engineering analysis for “Broken Jug” by Frank Stella, 1998 (Credit : RFR Engineers)

Slides 37 & 40 : Study prototypes for “Broken Jug” by Frank Stella studio, fibreglass, 1998-1999 (Photos courtesy of the Artist)

Slide 38 : 3D modelling development for “Broken Jug” by Frank Stella, 1998 (Credit : Martin Francis, francisdesign.com)

Slides 41-47 and 49 : Construction of “Broken Jug” in progress at CMN Naval Shipyard, Normandy, 1999 (Photos : Martin Francis, francisdesign.com)

Slide 48 : Petition to keep « Broken Jug » in Cherbourg, « mesopinions.com », 2018 (Photo : Amicale Transcontinentale des Chaudronneries-Frank-Stella-Cotentin (ATCFSC)

Slide 50 : Test erection of “Prinz Freidrich von Hamburg” by Frank Stella, 2002 (Photo courtesy of the Artist)

Slide 51 : Frank Stella’s assistant, Earl Childress, at RFR with engineering study model for “Prinz Freidrich von Hamburg” by Frank Stella, 2000 (Credit : RFR Engineers)

Slide 52 : Engineering analysis for “Prinz Freidrich von Hamburg” by Frank Stella, 2000 (Credit : RFR Engineers)

Slide 53 : 3D modelling development for “Prinz Freidrich von Hamburg” by Frank Stella, 2000 (Credit : Martin Francis, francisdesign.com)

Slides 54-57 : Construction of “Prinz Freidrich von Hamburg” by Frank Stella in progress at Polich Tallix foundry in Rock Tavern, New York, 2001-2002 (Photos : Martin Francis, francisdesign.com)

Slide 58 : Permanent installation at the National Gallery of Art Washington DC of “Prinz Freidrich von Hamburg” by Frank Stella, 2002 (Photo courtesy of the Artist)

Slides 59-61 : “Waves - Alcatel” by Thierry Vidé with Jean Sébastien Vidé, Paris 1996 (Photos courtesy of Thierry Vide Design, thierryvide.com)

Slide 62 : « Prism » by Thierry Vidé with Jean Sébastien Vidé, Brussels 2009 (Photos courtesy of Thierry Vide Design, www.thierryvide.com)

Slide 63-64 : « Onde Column » by Thierry Vidé with Jean Sébastien Vidé, Bois-Colombes 2008 (Photos courtesy of Thierry Vide Design, www.thierryvide.com)

Slide 65 : Image : Mitsu Edwards, EOC Engineers

Slide 66 : « Call & Response » by Langlands & Bell - Paris Tramway T3, 2012 (Photo credit: RATP)

Slides 67-69 : « Call & Response » by Langlands & Bell - Paris Tramway T3, 2012 (Photos: Richard Wilding)

Slide 70 : « Lamppost » by Mark Handforth, Public Art Fund temporary exhibition, sidewalk New York 2003 (Image courtesy of Public Art Fund, New York)

Slide 71 : Photomontage of « Twisted Lamppost Star » by Mark Handforth, prior to installation at Porte de Bagnolet, Paris 2012, Le Journal du Dimanche (Image © Agence Grumbach / APC + AIA ARTER)

Slides 72-73 : « Twisted Lamppost Star » by Mark Handforth, Porte de Bagnolet Paris, 2012 (Crédits photos : design-espaces.fr, sotralinox.com, parisladouce.com)

Slide 74 : Installation of “Twisted Lamppost Star” at Porte de Bagnolet, by Sotralinox, 2012 (Photo : design-espaces.fr, sotralinox.com)

Slides 75-81 : « Le Téléphone », Sophie Calle and Frank Gehry, 2006 (Photos : T/E/S/S atelier d’ingénierie)

Slide 82 : Cover of « Anselm Kiefer Uraeus », published by Gagosian, 2019 | early concept painting by Anselm Kiefer, 2016 (All images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slide 83 : Initial mock-up for “Uraeus” by the Artist, Anselm Kiefer’s atelier, 2016 (Photo Mitsu Edwards EOC engineers - image of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slides 84-85 : Fabrication of half-size prototype for “Uraeus” by the Artist’s team, Anselm Kiefer’s atelier, 2016-2017, subframe fabricated by Metafer (Photo Mitsu Edwards - image of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slides 86-88 : Working drawing development for “Uraeus” by Anselm Kiefer, 2017, (Photos : Mitsu Edwards EOC engineers, Drawings : EOC Engineers, Sotralinox - All images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slides 89-95 and 99 : Fabrication of “Uraeus” by the Artist’s team, Anselm Kiefer’s atelier, 2017, subframe fabricated by Sotralinox (Photos : Mitsu Edwards EOC engineers - all images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slides 96-98 : Installation studies for “Uraeus” by Anselm Kiefer, 2017 (Photo : Public Art Fund, Images : Mitsu Edwards, EOC Engineers - All images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slide 100 : Sculpture by Anselm Kiefer, Rockefeller Channel Centre Gardens 2018 (Photo created by jag9889 ©Mario Burger, flickr.com - All images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slide 101 : Inauguration of Uraeus by Anselm Kiefer, Rockefeller Channel Centre Gardens, May 1st 2018 (Photo : Mitsu Edwards EOC engineers - All images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slide 102 : Anselm Kiefer unveils his new sculpture 'Uraeus' at New York's Rockefeller Center, 3 may 2018 (Image : Financial times_ © Getty - All images of Uraeus courtesy of the Artist and © Anselm Kiefer)

Slides 103 and 106 : Anilore Banon, concept drawing for “Les Braves” by the Artist. (Image coutesy of the Artist, published in « Braves - Anilore Banon », Editions de la Flandonnière)

Slide 107 : Fabrication of “Les Braves” by Anilore Banon at CMN Naval Shipyard, 2004. (Image courtesy of the Artist, published in « Braves - Anilore Banon », Editions de la Flandonnière)

Slide 108 : Installation of “Les Braves” by Anilore Banon on Omaha Beach, 2004. (Image courtesy of the Artist, published in « Braves - Anilore Banon », Editions de la Flandonnière)

Slide 109 : Inauguration of “Les Braves” by Anilore Banon on the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Omaha Beach 6 June 2004. (Photo : Mitsu Edwards RFR engineers, Image courtesy of the Artist)

Slides 110 and 112 : “Les Braves” by Anilore Banon on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings Omaha Beach. (Photos : Industeel,, unknown via Google. Image courtesy of the Artist)

Slide 111 : Anilore Banon with “Les Braves”, Omaha Beach, 2004. (Image courtesy of the Artist, published in « Braves - Anilore Banon », Editions de la Flandonnière)

Slide 113 : “Les Braves” by Anilore Banon, on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Omaha Beach, 31 May 2019. (Photo : Army Sgt. Dominique Washington)