Metakaos: Winner of World Design Awards 2021. The Superstring is an artwork dedicated to some of the most exciting branches of Science. It is a three-dimensional illustration of one of the best achievements of humanity in the field of Physics and the effort that many brilliant minds have put forward in the attempt to better understanding the universe. The Supersymmetric String Theory, known in short as Superstring Theory, is an ongoing endeavor at creating a universal and comprehensive theory of the physical mechanism of the universe that merges Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. The Theory, in simple words, imagines the universe’s building blocks at microscopic levels made of tiny strings vibrating in different ways and modes across multiple dimensions.
The making of the sculpture followed an unusual process. Instead of being modeled with clay or plasticine and then scaled up to actual size by the metal workers, it was sketched on paper and modeled in three-dimension on the computer with modeling software Rhino. The 3Dmodel then was printed on a three-dimensional printer in various sizes. These mini models were then used to make bigger models in clay and plasticine to adjust the sculpture to the most harmonious form. The last one of the prototypes was then scanned and touched up again in 3D to produce the final prints of the artwork that would be the base for the metal workers to assemble the actual size Superstring.
The Superstring sculpture includes two elements forged out of 316 stainless steel sheets, 3mm in thickness, bent and welded by well-skilled metalworkers. After the forging and welding, the steel surface went through a lengthy polishing process that made the sculpture shine with a beautiful mirror finish, so it looks like it formed from a single, continuous metal piece. The high-grade stainless steel allows the sculpture to be part of a water feature and be exposed to the weather, maintaining its shine without tarnishing or rusting, though proper maintenance and cleaning are required.
The sculpture is an approximately 3.2m x 2.5m x 2.7m coil of steel that turns back to connect the first with the last, moving from back to front in a seemingly dynamic flow that evokes a perennial continuum after being looped five times. The twists of the coil are in an arrangement with a cadence that resembles a melodic composition– a design gesture reminding us of the harmony of Physics and the fascinating connection between Music and Mathematics, which always underlines even the most chaotic dynamical system.
The second element of the sculpture is a rounded nucleus of 1.25m x 900mm x 900mm, suspended by four thin steel cables at the center. The steel cables are barely visible if you stand just a few meters away and give the illusion that the nucleus is floating, making the sculpture a fascinating sight to people who look at it. The steel cables are anchored with special screws onto four different points of the spiral coil so that all the steel cables are kept in tension to prevent the nucleus from swaying in the wind.
The artwork— a physical representation of a multi-dimensional universe derived from quantum mechanics and is, therefore, an early example of a sculpture inspired by physics and mathematics—mesmerizes the onlooker with its fluid ripples of steel that twirl around its nucleus. It appears to be floating right within its center, almost as if the force of gravity within would obey different laws.
The sculpture was a commissioned project by KOP Limited for Hamilton Scotts, a residential building in Scotts Road, Singapore, last 2011. It was installed in early 2012 and originally sat along the Scotts road west pedestrian walk, seen from the main road and to passers-by, nearly as acting as public art. It has been moved now to the side of the building, to the less busy part of the complex.
World Design Awards Category
©Metakaos and CI&A Photography
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