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Named A Bullet From A Shooting Star, the semi-permanent installation by London-based sculptor Alex Chinneck takes its cues from the industrial structures around the River Thames in London. The huge structure leans at an angle and is designed to look like its been shot into the earth.
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Chinneck, who specialises in architectural installations featuring optical illusions, was also the artist behind a house in Margate with a slumping brick facade and a levitating building in Covent Garden’s Piazza.
His latest 35-metre-tall sculpture, which is embedded in a pit of gravel on the Greenwich Peninsula in south-east London, is among the highlights of London Design Festival 2015.
Over 1180 metres of steel were used to create the latticed structure, which weighs 15 tonnes and sits on foundations dug 25 metres into the ground. A 120 tonne counterweight – similar to that used to ballast his Covent Garden installation last year – allows the sculpture to appear to balance on its very narrow tip.
Its positioning on the edge of the River Thames in Greenwich means the sculpture sits against a backdrop of London’s iconic Millennium Dome and the remains of the latticed towers that once formed Europe’s largest gas-works.
The installation occupies an empty plot on the Greenwich Peninsula, which will be redeveloped over the course of the next 20 years to provide 15,000 new homes.
While the compound the sculpture stands in will be locked following the end of the London Design Festival on 27 September, a wide tarmac path around its outskirts is intended to allow visitors to see the changing latticed shadows the structure casts on its surroundings until it is removed for the site’s development.
Illuminated at night, it will also create a beacon for passing cars on the nearby A12 road and for planes passing overhead on their arrival to and from the City Airport, as well as the Emirates cable car that links both banks of the River Thames and passing boat services.