Eccentric Gravity: Heraldic
HPC (high performance concrete), mineral paint, EPDM, stainless steel constructions
Prague, Czech Republic
Filip Dubský, Aleš Hvízdal, Lukáš Kalivoda, Daniel Marko, Dmitrij Nikitin, Jan Paclt, Jakub Petr, Petr Pufler, Arťom Zavorochin
Heraldic is a monumental tube-like sculpture Studio Federico Díaz created to cover a ventilation shaft of an underground tunnel in a lively part of Prague. The city commissioned Federico and his team to transform the structure and its close surroundings. The result is 176 unique concrete relief panels created by means of ABB robots. Diaz’s team also revitalized the surrounding area and turned it into a park with an original outdoor gym.
We have learned to view laws of nature as unwaveringly self-evident. Even the youngest children understand that gravity pulls everything down to the ground. The hows, the whys, and the rules of gravity do not seem to be as important. We take a similar approach to the achievements of civilization, be it the latest iPhone, high-speed internet, vaults in Gothic cathedrals, or the arches of underground tunnels woven into the urban infrastructure. Everything below ground and above it, all the way to the distant satellites somewhere high above the sky, is part of our unquestioned everyday reality, and we work with it with certainty and with a self-evident gravitation to the ground.
Heraldic makes gravity real and visible to such an extent that it can be touched and seen right on our bodies. Heraldic encircles an element of civil engineering in Prague – a forty-five-meter-deep ventilation shaft and tunnel vent rising up twenty meters above it. Facilitating travel through the busy city, the tunnel is another example of the clash and conflict with the forces of gravity. It is an example of engineering and architecture, but also of the tremendous physical effort expended by the people who built it.
A simple rope hanging between two points, pulled to the ground by the force of gravity, is enough to show the arch of the catenary curve. It is easiest to imagine it as a moving jump rope. A soccer ball flying across the field. Bends and turns of trickling ultramarine color are another visible representation of gravity. In this case on the surface of the 186-ton sculpture Heraldic and its rich, generative algorithm-based ornamentation.