Client: City of Wroclaw
Location: Wrocław, Poland
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $1,700,000
Municiplity of Wroclaw
NAWA sculpture is a part of the European Capital of Culture 2016 celebrations, whose main slogan is “metamorphoses of culture”, i.e. shifts occurring in the domain of culture, communities and the city itself. The idea of metamorphosis itself also underlies NAWA sculpture. As the final effect NAWA is the ultralight, durable construction made up of several dozens steel arches making the openwork gate through which one can walk freely. Received bionic form and polished surface reflecting the surroundings create the effect of naturaly growing sculpture with constantly changing look through the day.
NAWA sculpture is erected on Daliowa Island – the smallest of over a dozen islands in Wrocław is situated in the primal current of the Odra river and is surrounded by both lush greenery and historic architecture. During several decades, Daliowa Island has evolved significantly. Before World War II it was bursting with life. During the War it was markedly destroyed; after the War it was brought back to life, but in the recent years it has been almost forgotten. Today, thanks to NAWA sculpture, the island can be re-born and remind the citizens of Wrocław about its presence. The plan for Daliowa Island revitalization includes turning the island into a place full of greenery which would at the same time be a meeting place in the city centre. NAWA sculpture perfectly embodies these assumptions. It does not ruin the natural character of the island and simultaneously it is an articulate and attention-grabbing urban element in Wrocław. The sculpture also amplifies the nature’s presence. Polished steel surface is reflecting its green surroundings, the river and historic architecture. Depending on the weather and time of the day, the sculpture looks differently each time.
One of the major source of inspiration for Oskar Zięta is bionics. This branch of science allows to invent technical solutions which mimic the behaviour of living organisms. The search of form has led the artist to the construction of bionic arches linked together. The form of the sculpture relates both to the natural surroundings and the neighbouring buildings. The organic arches are the result of parametric design. This innovative domain operating in architecture, engineering and city planning relies on software which allows to generate blocks on the basis of combined input of parameters. Thanks to the initial parameters, the final shapes fulfill practical goals, such as optimal size, weight, adaptation to the environment. NAWA's shape was accommodated to the terrain and surroundings. The weight of the ultralight construction was possible thanks to FiDU – the innovative technology invented by Oskar Zięta. It allows to distort the shapes of steel elements welded together. Thanks to “inflating” it with compressed air, the metal forms become durable and stable, maintaining its lightness at the same time. NAWA is the first FiDU construction on such a large scale. Therefore, it became a manifesto of this innovative technology.
Despite its artistic character, the sculpture also fulfills its social functions in the public space. In the design process, a research for potential social impact of the sculpture and aesthetics were equally important. It has been contemplated how NAWA forms part of its surroundings and how it would affect its audience – both the passers-by and the ones who walk under it.