Talbot Heath School have commissioned an outdoor sculptural installation by Rebecca Newnham celebrating their new Design Hub, which opened in September 2019. The 4m tall installation references progressive stages in a fluid dynamic vortex and is accompanied by water mist, referencing STEAM an educational approach to learning and encompasses science, technology, engineering, art and maths.
Surge Talbot Heath School STEAM Hub sculpture
Medium: glass, stainless steel, mist makers
Dimensions: 4000x 4000 x 1200mm
Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth commissioned artist Rebecca Newnham to create Surge in celebration of their new STEAM Hub. The sculpture references the progressive wave motion of water and produces mist and was inspired by STEAM – an educational approach to learning that encompasses science, technology, engineering, art and maths. The Hub opened in September 2019.
Bournemouth based artist Rebecca Newnham is known for large scale glass installations. Recent projects include 3 floating sculptural installations on three lakes in Yorkshire, most recently Lily Pads in 2018. Regularly exhibiting nationally and internationally, Newnham has work in museums and private collections around the world, including Dubai, Italy, Las Vegas and Brussels. Her current work illustrates theories of physics that express how matter moves in the natural world.
Newnham says of her latest work, ‘Here in Bournemouth we enjoy living by the sea, observing the waves and surface ripples, wakes from boats, landing sea birds and the sea mist rolling up on to the land. Identifying and understanding patterns in water is known as fluid dynamics. It’s the study that leads to better aircraft and ship hull design and I draw on these theories in my work.’
The sculpture reflects Talbot Heath’s ambitious and pioneering values, where creativity is at the centre of the curriculum. The patterns created in the mist when an object obstructs the flow, are the same as those created in water, and can be explored in science classes, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, to better understand the world in which we live.
Surge is made up of three uprights that progressively bend and twist into four metre high arrowhead chevrons. They echo the ripples of a dynamic vortex. This vortex is a flow that is created when mist or water circulates around an object such as a mountain top or an island in the ocean. The three arrows point towards the school’s main entrance, and mist emits from the base. The red used in the sculptures represents energy and have a hand cut and painted glass skin. One side of each sculpture has the names of hundreds of students, alumni and staff engraved into the glass surface. Workshops in glass engraving were held at the school, where participants were invited to add their own names to the piece.
The construction has a stainless steel skeleton and stainless mesh onto which an exterior render is applied, which contains marble dust. This method has been developed and refined over the last decade to find a system which is more sustainable and moves away from reliance on fiberglass.
See the process of this project: