In a current exhibition entitled ‘Element’, the structural engineer Cecil Balmond explores his theories and speculations about pattern, space and geometric forms through three installation sections. On show in the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Japan, the pieces can be viewed until the 22nd March 2010.
As you enter the first section of the show, the viewer is greeted by photographs and drawings exploring the structures and patterns within nature. Balmond draws upon his understanding of the rhythms within nature, rather than just recreating a vision of superficial beauty. By combining this with his knowledge of geometry, the displays imbue a vast richness and complexity, encouraging visitors to have an affinity with the complex order at the core of the natural world.
Moving onto the second section, the gallery is filled with H-shaped aluminum plates suspended by chains. In this piece, Balmond explores the idea that a building can move and be flexible according to its environment. Unable to stand alone, the plates support each other, creating a never ending sense of space and scale. His use of simple algorithm enables buildings and vast structures to be built almost like an organism, full of complexity and a sense of life. He aims to stimulate the viewer’s senses and minds by identifying and emulating the very essence of natural forms.
Finally, a puzzle ‘Danzer’ is made of four types of tetrahedron completing the exhibition. Inspired by the way these fractal forms are embedded within nature in everything from the form of the coastline to the branches of a tree, this piece has a spellbinding quality.
Balmond was raised with a highly technical mind, having explored education in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and architecture, which he took on by joining the British multi-disciplinary firm ARUP. He has since been involved in many different projects with some of the world’s most revered architects, applying his knowledge of shape and form by developing ways of freeing architecture from a static state based on basic geometric forms.
Image source: dezeen.com