Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:21

At Grandi Manufacturing we get involved in some very exciting projects. Often it’s our metalwork that provides the basis for ambitious design concepts to become reality.

We were recently involved in creating the structure for a gravity defying art piece on behalf of Spier Architectural Arts and artist Gerhard Marx. His contemporary style freestanding mosaic artwork appeared at the FNB Joburg Art Fair in September 2013. In collaboration with structural engineer, Karl Hvidsten from Tank Industries, we manufactured a rectangular steel structure at a compound angle for this piece to rest on.

This freestanding sculpture is composed of 56 mosaic panels mounted onto a steel frame, displaying the artist's depiction of a continuous aerial view of Johannesburg's historical city centre. The installation is about 3m high and 5m wide and weighs 3 tons.

Assembly of Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg by Grandi Manufacturing

This project posed a number of unique challenges, but through bringing together the experience of the many skilled and talented people involved in the project, all of these were successfully overcome.

"An aerial view is both a photograph and a map," explains Marx. “As a photograph it functions in a sort of scientific objectified manner. It is literally an 'overview'. As a map, the aerial view interests me because of the manner in which one 'reads' a map – particularly a map without text, which is what the aerial view arguably is."

Each mosaic panel measures 800 x 800mm, suggestive of a grid reference found on maps. The artwork was fabricated in the indirect method in Spier Architectural Arts's Cape Town studio: seven professional mosaic artists from Italy and South Africa, together with nine apprentices, applied the tesserae facedown to a backing paper before they were transferred. Mosaic panels are placed on both sides of the artwork, reading as a continuous built surface.

Finished Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg assembled by Grandi Manufacturing

The project took 5 months to complete. The individual tesserae include natural stone such as marble and travertine, fragments of red brick, ceramic elements and chippings of Venetian smalti glass.

Vertical Aerial was an extremely challenging project, requiring high levels of skill, precision and creativity. We are extremely proud of our role in achieving a successful outcome.