Swirl

Submitted by Demiurge LLC

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Client: Jim Campbell

Location: Des Moines, IA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Project Team

Industry Resource

Demiurge LLC

Demiurge LLC

Artist

Jim Campbell

Client

White Light Inc.

White Light Inc.

Industry Resource

Arup Engineering

Arup Engineering

Public Art Agent

Des Monies Performing Arts

Des Monies Performing Arts

Overview

Swirl is located at Cowles Commons (formerly Nollen Plaza), spanning nearly a hundred feet in length and thirty feet in both width and height. The overall structure is comprised of 18 stainless steel and polycarbonate elliptical rings, laced with more than 8,000 precisely placed LEDs, suspended up to 30' in the air by a series of nine parabolically curved high strength stainless steel columns. Congruent with Campbell's most well known works these LEDs are used to produce and display low-resolution video of runners from the Des Moines Marathon, circling laps around the sculpture’s form.

Goals

Des Moines Performing Arts opened Cowles Commons this past June [2015] after a $12 million dollar redesign and renovation project that started with a design charrette and public workshops in 2008, followed by construction that began in fall 2013.

Process

In addition to working with Jim Campbell and his San Francisco based studio, White Light Inc. Demiurge worked with a number of consultants, contractors and engineers through multiple phases of design development, fabrication and installation to ultimately achieve the goals and aesthetic vision set out by the artist.

Additional Information

Parametric modeling was instrumental in generating the high degree of customization required to complete Swirl. Each of the 18 ellipses requires 18 connector arms, each of which has a unique length in order to attach it to the uprights and semi-uprights. Parametric software was also required to optimize the parabolic curves into arc segments and to generate numerous catalogues of data showing the locations of LED holes and acrylic connection locations.