Time for a new post about a past project. This one, Tension Study, is another product of my senior spring in college. It was with this piece that I started exploring the possibilities of using counteracting forces and tension to create a balanced and stable system. I particularly love the work of architect Santiago Calatrava and it was the beauty of his bridges that got me interested in using cables and tension in the first place. Though I have developed more of my own style over the past couple of years, I looked to bridges and Calatrava’s work in particular for inspiration on this project.
As you can see from the pictures, the piece consisted to two opposing plywood arcs, between which were suspended ellipses of varying sizes that I cut out with a jigsaw. The two arcs were not actually glued or screwed to the base, as the main idea of the piece was to find just the right balance between the cables pulling the arcs outward and the ellipses pulling them inward so that everything was supported by tension alone. Of curse, the ellipses didn’t really need to be there. I could have just had cables running directly between the two arcs, but I thought the ellipses looked cool and added a nice contour.
Unfortunately, like a lot of my early projects, this one was too big to keep. It was 16 ft long and 7 ft tall. I had to junk most of it, but I liked the idea so much that I returned to it a few months later. This time, I made a much smaller, though very similar version that I could keep.