Art and Engineering

Posted: March 9, 2018 / News

For a number of years now, Partridge Event has been delighted to help sponsor and work closely with, Sculpture by the Sea in both Bondi and Cottesloe. Partridge provides the exhibiting artists with engineering advice and certification, following review and analysis using our design criteria below. This includes assistance on aspects such as wind loads, structural integrity, overall stability and excessive deflection such as swaying. Footing options to prevent overturning of the sculptures, are designed or reviewed, including providing any recommendations to mitigate potential failures, or any unsafe public interaction.

Below is an example of the process Partridge undertakes to ensure the safety of the sculpture.



For this year’s Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe, Perth, Partridge was excited to work with a number of talented and respected artists, such as Elyssa Sykes-Smith. The exhibition piece “Layered Potential” explores the psychological state of the layering of ideas which form new and unexpected decisions, depicted through colourful Perspex panels suspended between trees on this site-specific location. As part of the structural review process, Partridge were able to calculate the wind loads on the Perspex panels, and applied this to the cables to determine required pretension, which in turn allowed us to determine the cable size required. We also advised the artist on a number of suitable options for fixing the panels to the cables. Ultimately, we went with a clamp system with “washers” to spread the load and protect the panels – the fixing points are shown in the attached mark up.

Elyssa Sykes-Smith, Layered Potential, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2018. Photo Jess Wyld.

Another fantastic sculpture that Partridge was pleased to be involved with, was “Disc Vane” by artist Ivan Black, a kinetic sculpture made up of ten moving parts rotating on a symmetrical axis. Partridge was engaged to design the aluminium pole, constructed with 2 different pole sizes to give a tapering effect. Partridge also reviewed the design of the bearings for all the rotating elements in collaboration with Tilt, the mechanical engineers. Partridge designed the concrete footing to ensure the sculpture’s stability in the event of high wind speeds. Welding aluminium is a structural challenge as it drastically reduces the strength of the aluminium at the heat affected areas, so careful analysis of the welded areas was needed in order to achieve adequate connections between each plate to the bearing housings.

Ivan Black, Disc Vane, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2018. Photo Jessica Wyld.


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