Client: Rutgers University
Location: Piscataway, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2013
Dr. Helen M. Berman
"Synergy" is a project for Rutgers University's prestigious new "Center for Integrative Proteomics" (CIPR), a unique research facility that integrates diverse fields of science to elucidate the form and function of proteins, the molecular building blocks of life. In addition, the CIPR houses the Protein Data Base, a world-renown depository for three-dimensional protein data. Sculptor and former physicist Julian Voss-Andreae was asked to create a unique signature piece for the CIPR, resulting in a 20-ft (6 m) tall stainless steel and colored glass sculpture based on collagen, the central protein of the human body.
Making use of scientific data stored at the CIPR, the sculpture was fabricated from custom-made stainless steel square tubing. Compound mitered cuts rearrange the one-dimensional tubing into a three-dimensional object, echoing nature's process of going from one-dimensional DNA to three-dimensional bodies by folding up chains of amino acids into well-defined proteins. The structure's three strands feature over 200 openings glazed with unsaturated versions of the three primary colors, giving tangible expression to the deeply interdisciplinary nature of research at the CIPR: Only the interconnection between the three strands gives collagen its extraordinary strength.
The sculpture serves as a link between the research inside the building and the general public outside. Visually appealing to scientist and non-scientist alike, "Synergy" is a vehicle for researchers to share the fundamental appeal of the world they are investigating and has become a symbol for the fact that science constitutes an integral part of culture.