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Stainless, Sun and Air

Stainless, Sun and Air

Stainless steel is well-known as a versatile and attractive medium for large scale public artworks. Two recent projects by Perth’s Stusha Studio make use of different treatments of the material to deliver attention-grabbing results.

INSPIRED BY NATURE
The Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital in WA commissioned shade structures in two courtyards and Stusha Studio responded with four elements, representing a flower, a seed, a leaf and a fruit, inspired by the orchards of the area and the seasons. The structures provide a shadow-play on the courtyard floors and walls, blushing the areas with shade.

The elements are made of stainless steel mesh, rod and square tube and are suspended at 4.4m. The material supply of grades 316 and 304 and support from ASSDA member Stirling Stainless Steel was crucial to the production of the work, fabricated at Stusha Studio and Art Engineering.

As the shades were installed after the hospital was complete, they were made in sections and re-assembled like a kite inside the courtyards. Because the rib-work for the shade structures was garnet-blasted, installation required care to avoid scuffing and this was provided in ample amounts by Damien Costello at Tension Structures.

COLOUR AND MOVEMENT
Hale School in Wembley, WA commissioned a sculptural interpretation of the theme ‘young hearts run free’. Stusha Studio created four stainless steel winged figures, grounded in four points but able to move with the wind, suggesting freedom no matter what the conditions.

The figures are on internal bearings that allow the whole structure to respond to the breeze. Because of their different dimensions the figures move at varying rates, producing an ever-changing kinetic sculpture.

The wings are made entirely of grade 304 stainless steel, cold forged under the largest hammer in the southern hemisphere at Ferrous Forging in Sunshine, Victoria. The sheets were heated by torch, rippled and fabricated by Kevin Burnett at Red Falcon in collaboration with Stusha Studio, in Melbourne. The wings were then shipped to Perth and combined with the rotating shaft, designed by Michael Ong and machined by Medical Engineering.

STAINLESS FOR PUBLIC ART
In carrying out these and other commissions, Stusha Studio has chosen to use stainless steel to deliver artistic concepts because of its robust quality and the easy access to technical advice and expertise. As an artistic material, stainless steel is versatile in the decorative treatments it supports. Text and graphics can be etched into the surface and paint filled if desired, while forging opens up a whole range of colours and effects.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 22, September 2002.

Lissel Pilcher