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DeWitt Godfrey Studio has collaborated with AKT II in the creation of Speirein: a four-metre-diameter sculpture for the 2021 Venice Biennale. This visually permeable artwork blends in with its natural surroundings, while at the same time expressing a designed connection with nature's underlying mathematics.

DeWitt Godfrey Studio has collaborated with AKT II to create an art installation for this year’s Venice Biennale.

Venice, Italy.
DeWitt Godfrey Studio
Project Value
completed 2021

Speirein forms part of a satellite festival exhibition named ‘Time Space Existence’, and responds to the 2021 Biennale theme of ‘how will we live together’. The name is in fact derived from the Greek word ‘spora’, which means ‘to sow’; Godfrey’s artistic concept explores notions of new life, creative energy, and the sharing of knowledge through networks.

The artist initially made a variety of models, from numerous circular pieces of varying sizes. A quasi-spherical form was then selected as the design for production. Geometrically, the sculpture comprises just over 100 cone-shaped elements – each of which is unique.

These elements were first laser-cut, as sheeting, from three-millimetre-thick weathering-steel, before being CNC-rolled into the desired conical shapes, which were then bolted together into modules. These modules were then easily, efficiently shipped to the festival site, and simply assembled.

In situ, the areas of light and shadow playfully overlap. Visitors are invited to explore this spatial interplay, and in doing so are treated to interior views of an earthy environment that’s constantly in flux.

AKT II’s role was to provide the necessary structural analysis and computational design to realise the piece. In the project’s early stages, this involved building some bespoke parametric tools to generate several conical layouts across the underlying sphere, complete with automatically generated structural-analysis models for each.

These digital tools then allowed Godfrey to adjust and refine the form, before a second set of tools was applied to automatically generate the fabrication and assembly information. ‘Fabrication information’ covers things like cutting patterns and rolling parameters, while the ‘assembly information’ includes the auto-labelled connection details.

Speirein marks seven years of collaboration, on many sculptures and installations, between Godfrey and AKT II.

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