Client: Hubert Phipps Studio
Location: Middleburg, VA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Hubert Phipps Studio
Rocket stands 30-feet tall, weighs 9.8 tons, and took more than 7,000 square feet of stainless steel to construct. The gleaming, stainless steel reflecting Rocket took two years to make and was completed in 2021. The piece measures 30′ x 24.8′ x 9.5′. Rocket is valued at 1.5 million and currently resides at South Florida’s Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC). Rocket was selected for Art in Public Places initiative at BRiC, the historic tech landmark where the first IBM Personal Computer was invented. This public art program is part of a cultural partnership between the Boca Raton Museum of Art and CP Group, the owner of BRiC and a premier developer and operator of commercial real estate. Rocket is one of the largest outdoor sculptures ever chosen for a public art initiative in Palm Beach County.
Phipps has had a lifelong interest in aviation, getting his pilot's license at the age of 16 and logging approximately 4000 hours in the past 46 years. Phipps wanted to create a piece that spoke to influences of Italian Futurism and Science Fiction. He thought it a timely subject as space travel has been rejuvenated with the exploits of Space X and plans to return to the Moon with the newly formed US Space Force.
Rocket began in 2018 as a sketch. The artist called upon his love of aerodynamic forms, which he has been relating to for the last 50 years as a lifelong pilot. From that sketch, he developed the 3D model out of clay and then had it scanned to further refine the design in Maya. The sculpture was then fabricated at a foundry in China.
Rocket is fabricated from sheet grade AISI 316 stainless steel, with the armature constructed from AISI 304 steel. This high-quality grade stainless steel is corrosive resistant and does well in subtropical and salty environments. Great care has been taken to engineer the sculpture to stand up to category-five hurricanes. It separates and ships in 3 individual sections. Assembly and installation are accomplished in a day. The sculpture includes detailed assembly instructions with video documentation.