Fighting gravity with fluid motion

When an international law firm looked for an art installation to grace their London headquarters, they turned to sculpture Daniel Chadwick.

Paul Hastings LLP wanted a spectacular showpiece for the entrance of their contemporary offices, ‘We wanted something different, something unique for our flagship offices.'

Daniel Chadwick is known for his kinetic work, creating dynamic moving sculptures and mobiles. He has worked with maxon since 1990. Incorporating maxon products means there is no noise, and the movement appears effortless – an essential requirement for this type of installation. The sculpture Daniel created for the international company, titled Gravity, is vast, with the longest arm at over 20 ft. Daniel explains ‘It is resting in space as if it is fighting gravity. The arms are the elements, and the motion is defying the gravitational forces with its finely-tuned balance and smoothly controlled movement.’

Gravity uses four brushed maxon DCX motors and GPX gearbox combinations, ranging from 14mmØ to 35mmØ, coupled via clutches to the moving arms. This range of products is available to configure online and only take 11 days to manufacture. It was made in its entirety at Daniels workshop in Gloucestershire. The mobile was then transported in pieces, the size of which was determined by how big the service lifts were. It was assembled, like a giant logic puzzle, in the rafters of the Bishopsgate building. The mobile is continually moving in random directions. The motors are controlled by maxon motor controllers and Arduino programmers allowing them to speed up smoothly, slow down, pause and randomly reverse direction, the arms float near and then rotate back like a living creature with a mind of its own.

Matt Dean, Sales Engineer at maxon, said ‘If you look closely, the motion in the sculpture is perfectly smooth, that was key to Daniels requirements. If the motor was not smooth, the end of the statue would be very jerky and evident to the eye as the length of the arms are so long. Our DCX/GPX combinations were perfect for this.’

Gravity has just had its first anniversary and has run faultlessly. Hastings concluded ‘’Gravity 2019’ has created an amazing experience for visitors and staff alike’.

Watch Gravity in motion

Gravity 2019


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