Floating on Air - CODAworx

Floating on Air

Submitted by Ian Dowling

Client: St John of God/Dept of Health

Location: Midland WA, Australia

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $165,000

Project Team


Ian Dowling

Ian Thomson Dowling


Matt Griffiths


Carmel Warner


Cast porcelain modules are used in a tessellating pattern across the 12 metre high, 8 metre wide surface through 3 levels of the building. 280 models for these pieces were made with varying size, texture style and intensity using high-density polystyrene foam. The models were cut with a variety of hot wires based on a method developed by Italian artist Nino Caruso. Glaze blends add to the progressive pattern and visual movement.


The work is based on the rhythmic movement of air through breath. Integration into the space was an important part of the design with soft surfaces and colours. As the viewer moves through the space, the image changes, different aspects of the pattern become more dominant, other parts recede.


The mould making and casting of many thousands of textured pieces was completed at Ian's Margaret River workshop with the invaluable help of potter Matt Griffiths and 2 assistants. After sorting and selection Ian and artist / installer Carmel Warner installed and grouted the modules with many weeks spent onsite on a scissor lift.