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“Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness” sculpture at the The Angel Building, London by Ian McChesney
February 23rd, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness is a stunning new sculpture by Ian McChesney for the Angel Building in London. The shape of the piece was generated by allowing treacle to fall from a spoon – the resulting form is then inverted. The unit comprises an oval seating area from which extends a narrow twenty two metre high spar – that’s over 5 double decker buses. The title is taken from the motto on the Lyles Black Treacle tin which, in turn is a reference to a story in the Old Testament. It is fabricated from carbon fibre which is both strong and very light enabling it to be incredibly slender. At the foot of the piece is a seating area upholstered in leather by designer Bill Amberg.
The piece was comissioned by developer Derwent London for the Angel Building, a new office development near the Angel underground station in Islington, London. The building was designed by architects AHMM.
About the Piece by Ian McChesney
We wanted the piece to be fluid in form, in contrast with the very rational nature of the surrounding building. It was important that the shape was generated through a real process rather than mere invention. Remembering how treacle glides off a teaspoon we set about experimenting. What was elegant about the treacle was that as it fell from the spoon a sinuous tapering curve form was generated. So in an instant the shape of the piece was born, the elliptical spoon shape would provide the seat and base, the long strand the spar rising up the atrium. The title of the piece ‘Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness’ appears as a motto on the Lyles treacle tin and is in turn a biblical reference from chapter 14 of the Book of Judges. While this provided a direct link to the piece, the phrase had a resonance with the form .
The piece is made from carbon fibre which is both very strong and lightweight. We worked with engineers Atelier One in the initial instance to analyse the structural properties of the spar, the width of which was arrived at by a process of calculated trial and error. The form was then designed in more detail by engineers Gurit using computer based ‘Finite Element Analysis’. It was subsequently built on the Isle of Wight by AM Structures a fabricator with origins in boat building. The piece is 22 metres high and narrows to 100mm diameter at the midpoint, and 25mm at the tip.
A video of the installation can be seen at
About Ian McChesney
His cross disciplinary approach reflects his varied education through an art school rather than architectural education system. He first took an Art Foundation course at Chesterfield College of Art, followed by a degree in Three Dimensional Design at Kingston, moving on to the Royal College of Art’s Interior Design and Architecture Course. He then worked for Architects John McAslan a during which time he became a fully registered architect.
The studio has won a number of accolades including Finalist in the BD Young architect of the year 2008, and The Architects’ Journal 40 under 40, awards included Civic Trust Awards for its work in both Blackpool and Preston. Ian regularly contributes to a range of advisory panels including Southwark Design Review Panel and the Transport for London Design Review Panel.
About the Angel Building
The Angel Building is a new 250,000 sq ft office building. It was designed by Architects AHMM and was comissioned by developer Derwent London. Angel Building is the re-invention of an unloved early 1980’s commercial building located on one of London’s historic focal points where City Road and St John Street meet Pentonville Rd. The existing concrete frame is re-used and re-wrapped with a highly energy-efficient glazed skin which extends the building’s envelope at selective points to create a better fit with the surrounding context. An existing open courtyard is enclosed to form an internal, top-lit public room entered off St John Street which acts as the heart of the building.
Contact Ian McChesney
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