Iridescent Cloud, Haddad|Drugan

 

PROJECT PROFILE:

Artists: Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan 
Title: Iridescent Cloud
Materials: Stainless Steel, High-Tensile Cable, Acrylic Tetrahedrons
Engineering: KL&A Engineering
Location: Morgridge Family Exploration Center, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO
Dimensions: 80’ x 35’ x 30’
 

Demiurge worked with artist team Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan to fabricate and install Iridescent Cloud. Commissioned and owned by the City and County of Denver, Iridescent Cloud is the public art component of the recent addition to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In conceptualizing the piece, Haddad|Druagn drew inspiration from the “museum’s mineral collection, exhibits about the optical properties of light, and Colorado’s dynamic sun and sky, and iridescent clouds”.

Iridescent Cloud consists of over seven hundred acrylic prisms individually affixed to stainless steel rods clustered together and suspended by a high-tensile cable net strung between three massive hexagonal columns. The prisms shift and shimmer with changing environmental conditions, providing a dynamic visual experience for viewers on the southern plaza and adjoining open park space.  

Throughout the design phase, Demiurge worked to create a solutions that would satisfy the structural requirements, the conceptual and aesthetic vision of the artists, and the safety, time, and budgetary constraints at the museum. This included laboratory testing the acrylic prisms, a custom designed and fabricated high-tensile cable system, accessibility around the artwork, and a unique production and installation process.

Demiurge created a specialized fabrication plan for this piece, drawing on our experience, metal fabrication best practices, and the unique needs of a ten-thousand pound piece of fine art sculpture. Fabrication of the piece occurred over the course of several months, with Demiurge first completing and installing the three massive columns, then following weeks later with the lighter, but no less difficult “cloud” of stainless rod and acrylic prisms.

With research and development, logistics, design and the artists aesthetic input were in place, Demiurge worked to create a unique fabrication process that would maximize efficiency from production through installation. Working in conjunction with the museum renovations Demiurge worked to produce the three massive columns, as they would need to be built and installed prior to the remaining sculpture.

Each of the three columns were cut into six pieces, which were broke into their hexagonal form, welded at both the horizontal and vertical seams and in compliance with the engineering specifications.

The first phase of installation consisted of placing each hexagonal column on a concrete pier cap supported by 4 micro-piles extending 40 feet into the ground. The next phase, installation of the cloud, was guided by aesthetic and conceptual input from the artists. This collaborative relationship guided our fabricators as we produced 60 identical “modules” of stainless rod and acrylic prisms. In the next phase of installation, the modules were aggregated and joined together to form the cloud elements, with the artists guiding the form and composition of the cloud.

Iridescent Cloud is the result of a successful collaboration, thorough fabrication methods, strong logistical planning and precise execution. Demiurge had previously produced Sun Spot for Haddad|Drugan and was honored to work with them a second time.