Sophy King

Art, Landscape, Environment

D.N.A.

Leeds Nuffield Hospital, 2003
High tension cable, stainless steel, oak, slate, glass. 6m high, 600mm diameter
 
dna sculpture from above

DNA sculpture from the first floor

The sculpture represents a strand of D.N.A. It’s dynamic shape animates the space for the transient population of patients and visitors who move through the building. As a representation of DNA it conveys a further layer of meaning to the hospital staff who use the building daily.

The spiral implies growth and dynamism. This basic geometry is something we relate to instinctively; it’s around us all the time on every scale from D.N.A. to a fern leaf to a galaxy.

Four elements represent the four bases that comprise D.N.A. The cubes are made of stainless steel, oak, glass and slate.

The interplay between these materials creates visual interest. The metal reflects, glass refracts, wood and stone absorb the light. They also have contrasting textures, the metal smooth, hard and cold; the stone rough and cold, the wood soft and warm, the glass silky to the touch.

The whole is strung on tensile cables reaching 6m from ceiling to floor in the front lobby of the building.

dna blocks

Blocks used to make DNA

 

Showing the spiral effect from the ground level

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Wave

Wave

Saltash Millennium Park, Cornwall, 2000

Aluminium and glass

Commissioned by Groundwork and Caradon County Council

The sculpture was selected from open competition and through consultation with local people. The commission included workshops with local children, talks and displays to involve and give ownership to the local community. It is situated by the river Tamar in the Millennium Park, built on a landfill site, including artworks, designed seating and railings and a BMX track. I also mentored a local artist during all phases of the commission.

The sculpture is a symbol of regeneration. It takes its inspiration from the Brunel Railway Bridge which can be seen from the site. It is made from sheet aluminium fins, slotting onto a central axis and bolted at each end.

The fins have glass magnifying lenses set into portholes along their length to distort the landscape. The idea is to visually link the surrounding area to the sculpture directly, while giving the local viewer a new perspective on their home, and on the ex-landfill park through the distortions of the lenses.

The aluminium fins which comprise the sculpture were milled at the nearby Devonport Royal Dockyards.

We used state of the art technology, more normally used to make components for nuclear submarines.

This process echoes the technical excellence and industrial prowess the area was famous for during the Brunel era.

The ‘flatpack’ sculpture was then assembled on site over a week.

Each ‘fin’ slots onto the square axel which is bolted onto a pad foundation via three footings

The whole piece is then tightened up using 80mm nuts

 

Sundial

Sundial, Mile End, London 1998

Commission for Bethnal Green Housing Association, the frontispiece for a new housing development.

Reinforced concrete, 25mm thick float glass, mirror

Mile End is a diverse multicultural area, this informed my approach to the design, and my proposal was chosen by popular vote by the residents of the area.  The monolithic sculpture is the gnomon to a sundial laid out in the cobbles around it.

The Sundial evokes the connection between the earth and the sky. It reveals changing atmospheres, the rhythm of the days and months. It reinforces the viewer’s relationship to the seasons within an urban, anthropocentric environment.

During workshops in local schools we made sundials and orreries, exploring concepts of Time and Space.

I also developed a system to cast glass within concrete in conjunction with a specialist glass engineer at Ove Arup

 

Pods

 

Concrete, steel, glass

These sculptures comprise repeated elements, fitted together to create the work. The parts are not quite mass- but maybe midi-production.
They have potential for multiple variation.
The recurring components evoke the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

These are both totem and wayfinding sculpture.  Looking through the inset lenses gives an alternative view on the surroundings, inviting you to find your own reality.