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Artists enjoy being creative with aluminium. ©iStock
Artists enjoy being creative with aluminium. ©iStock
Design thinking

Artists crazy about aluminium

Aluminium inspires artists to realize crazy ideas. Here are two examples of how useful the brilliantly varied properties of aluminium can be.

Aluminium alloys are better than other metals in areas such as mechanical stability and thermal management, as well as weight. This is important for use in scores of industrial applications.

Artists also have found the metal quite useful in their world, the world of art.

American artist Jeff Koons took 20 years to complete Play-Doh, his sculpture which looks like a 10-foot-tall pile of colorful and soft clay. It is actually aluminium.

Koons assembled Play-Doh with 27 interlocking sections of painted aluminium. Gravity basically joins the sections, with the weight of each colored section pressing down on the one below.

Can you imagine turning aluminium into such a convincing model of soft clay?

mound of what appears to be play dough

Aluminium recreates nature in Nebraska sculpture

Another American artist, Ed Carpenter, uses aluminium in his work. He chose to use aluminium in his 45-foot-tall “Harvest” sculpture in Lincoln, Nebraska, because it is light and rigid and non-corrosive.

What he needed was a lightweight and durable way to attach the glass in the sculpture to the cables. Using the extrusion process, his supplier manufactured a complex cross section to attach the glass to the aluminium and to accept set screws to grip the cables.

Harvest is adding life to the city space in Lincoln. The sculpture is dazzling in daylight and nice at night. Its form suggests a sheaf of wheat, symbolizing the bountifulness of this agricultural region.

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