Suzanne Lovell Inc

Architecture

Rainwater chandelier, “Reservoir”

July 28, 2019

Amazing fact- the  sculpture weighs 70 pounds when dry and can exceed 800 pounds when it is filled by a heavy rainfall.

Image courtesy of: DesignBoom

An Italian forest seems like the ideal place for a “rainwater-collecting” installation. Dangling from the trees at Arte Sella Sculpture Park in Borgo Valsugana, Italy, John Grande designed what appears to be a chandelier hiding among the pine trees. Five thousand clear droplets, each one attached to a translucent net, delicately hang down like a swarm of fairies.

John Grande grew up in Minnesota and currently lives in Seattle. The artist gets inspiration by changing geological and biological forms and by systems within nature. Along with his team at John Grande Studio, he sculpts large-scale and site-specific installations.

The materials used: vacuum-formed plastic, wood, netting, cables, and springs.

Dimensions vary: When dry, the upper net is: 8.6 feet (h) x 18.6 feet x 17 feet. When wet, the lower net (mounted 42’ above the ground) is: 8 feet (h) x 28.6 feet x 24.6 feet.

Image courtesy of: John Grande

When rain falls, the “Reservoir’s” clear pouches fill up and start resembling droplets. As rain fills each droplet, the installation gets heavier and drops lower. When warm and sunny weather arrives, the water inside the pouches evaporates and the structure rises back to its original height.

Interestingly enough, the installation provides an ecosystem of sorts because it serves as a water resource for the surrounding landscape. However when the water evaporates, a humid environment is created and vegetation flourishes!

Luckily, the sheathed springs below pulleys limit the installation’s vertical range of motion so that it remains at least ten feet above the ground at all times.

 

When standing up close, you can see the intricacies of the structure.

Image courtesy of: DesignBoom

If the installation is part of a performance-art feature, “Reservoir” can be manually manipulated to rise and fall on cue. The movement can mimic the choreography of the dancers; the sloping topography around the clearing allows the audience a great vantage point directly beneath the cloud-like mass, as well as a view slightly above the continuously-changing sculpture.

Grande wanted to ensure that the local wildlife was not negatively affected by the installation. He said, “I was initially worried that birds might accidentally fly into the net structure and get caught and hurt. So we did tests with different types of netting and by using a very fine net we have had no problems with birds or any other type of animals. I think the shine of the droplet parts also repels birds from flying into the sculpture.”

Image courtesy of: DesignBoom

“Reservoir” is contracted from heat-formed plastic parts that are framed with steam-bent strips of Alaskan yellow cedar. Each individual droplet is attached to a marine net with a fishing line which is incubated with stainless steel to maintain tension and support the tree trunks above the structure.

The pouches are formed from casts of human hands cupped together. Ten different sets of peoples’ hands were used to create a variation in scale!

Perfecting the net took a lot of patience.

Image courtesy of: My Modern Met

About the project, Grande reveled, “I became most interested in the way rain falls through this grove of trees, the canopy delaying the droplet’s journey to the ground as well as how quiet and sheltered the forest was during a heavy rain. I wanted to make a sculpture that responded to the rain directly as well as a sculpture that responded to people.”

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