Cast Bronze for Austin Rd Station, Hong Kong
Name – Eclipse
Year – 2015
Material – Cast bronze with artisan patina on a black granite plinth.
Dims – 3000mm H x 1200mm W.
Edition – Unique.
Thomas was approached by Hong Kong based art consultants Orangerie International to develop a monumental sculpture as part of a collection being curated for the grounds of a high end apartment block being developed as part of the new Austin Rd subway station in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
The ‘Eclipse’ sculpture was agreed to be the most pleasing form for the location, so a 2m cast bronze on a 1m fabricated granite plinth was commissioned. Due to the expense of shipping such a large and heavy item, a foundry near to Hong Kong was used for the project. The most challenging part of the commission was developing the structural fixings of the sculpture to withstand the loading’s from the weight of the solid bronze form, along with a requirement to be engineered to withstand loading pressures from typhoon wind speeds up to 200kmph. This took several months going back and forth between a specialist engineer and the foundry to come up with a design that would meet these requirements. The main challenge being that a key element to the aesthetics of the design comes from the very small contact point at the base of the sculpture to the fixing plate, which gives the impression of lightness and balance.
Eclipse was the very first bronze design I developed and is still to date one of my personal favorites. The form uses the Fibonacci sequence to determine its proportions and is inspired by the Nautilus shell, resulting in a highly fluid and aesthetic sculpture. The look and finish was directly influenced by my admiration for the cast bronze abstracts of modernist sculptors Arp & Brancussi.
One surface is perfectly smooth with a coloured patina, whilst the other has a dark patina and is textured with a series of raised lines that hint at how the sculpture was made. The original ‘pattern’ was created using a metal frame or jig with two sides and shaped to the Fibonacci spiral. A series of holes were drilled in the jig, so string could be stretched and tied from one side to another. Liquid wax was then painted onto one side of the string and gradually built up layer over layer, until a solid surface was achieved. After a considerable amount of work smoothing out the wax, a form was achieved that could then be invested into a ceramic shell and made into bronze using the lost wax process.