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Rock sculpture launches in London


Arup has helped realise the strikingly beautiful ‘One Rock on top of Another Rock’ sculpture by the Swiss Artists Peter Fischli and the late David Weiss.

‘One Rock on top of Another Rock’ is Fischli’s first UK installation and was unveiled in Kensington Gardens, London’s Hyde Park.

The two rocks that form the sculpture are weathered granite boulders, each weighing just under 30 tonnes. These have been shaped by glacial action and natural weathering over thousands of years into magnificent and complex forms. The rocks are delicately and precisely balanced on top of each other, held together simply by gravity.

Working in close collaboration with The Serpentine Gallery and Peter Fischli, Arup carried out a laser survey of the rocks at their original location in North Wales. The survey’s data was used to produce 3D models, one twentieth of the scale, to test and explore many different balanced configurations that otherwise might not have been discovered.

The selected arrangement was further analysed and tested to confirm the stability of the sculpture to ensure public safety. As a result of the modeling, it was possible to complete the installation in in less than three hours.

“This unique opportunity has allowed Arup to demonstrate how engineering principles of balance and gravity can help realise striking artistic concepts. The trick has been to keep the combined centre of gravity of the rocks directly over the point of support, which despite using high technology modeling, ultimately represents a very natural phenomena”.

— Alice Blair, Lead Engineer, Arup


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