NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

Curated by Aline Chahine | 
July 4, 2019
| Est. Reading: 3 minutes

The NAWA sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta will be erected on Daliowa Island in Wrocław. The sculpture will be a part of the European Capital of Culture 2016 celebrations, whose main slogan is “metamorphoses of culture”, i.e. shifts occurring in the domain of culture, communities and the city itself. The idea of metamorphosis itself also underlies the NAWA sculpture.

The NAWA sculpture will be erected on an unusual, mysterious and wild site. Daliowa Island – the smallest of over a dozen islands in Wrocław is situated in the primal current of the Odra river and is surrounded by both lush greenery and historic architecture.

During several decades, Daliowa Island has evolved significantly. Before World War II it was bursting with life; during the War it was markedly destroyed; after the War it was brought back to life, but in the recent years it has been almost forgotten. Today, thanks to the NAWA sculpture, set up as part of the European Capital of Culture, the island can be re-born and remind the citizens of Wrocław about its presence.

Inhabited, ruined and rebuilt. Until 1980s the island was perceived as an important point on Wrocław’s social map.


Science and aesthetics
One of the major source of inspiration for Oskar Zięta is bionics. This branch of science allows to invent technical solutions which mimic the behaviour of living organisms. The search of form has led the artist to the construction of bionic arches linked together. The form of the sculpture relates both to the natural surroundings and the neighbouring buildings.

Despite its artistic character, the sculpture will also fulfill its social functions in the public space. In the designing process, researching the potential social impact of the sculpture and aesthetics were equally important. It has been contemplated how NAWA forms part of its surroundings and how it will be affecting its audience – both the passers-by and the ones who walk under it.

NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

The sculpture will not alter the wild character of the island. Quite the contrary: it will amplify the nature’s presence. Polished steel surface will be reflecting its green surroundings, the river and historic architecture. Depending on the weather and time of the day, the sculpture will look differently each time.

NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

Thanks to the well-considered spot and the form which resembles a gate, the audience can contemplate the sculpture both from the inside and from the outside. The additional footbridge makes the island accessible for the pedestrians.

The curvature of the sculpture is adjusted to the pathway which links both exits from the island. The construction allows to aim the eyesight of the pedestrians to the selected landscapes, revealing and blotting out numerous perspectives.

NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

Thanks to the arches aiming upwards, the sculpture powerfully interplays with the landscape. Bionic shapes establish the impression that the sculpture grows straight from the ground. Simultaneously, the construction based on the arches relates to the monuments nearby: The Ossolineum, The church’s tower at Piasek, Wrocław Market Hall and Ostrów Tumski.

The organic arches are the result of parametric design. This innovative domain operating in architecture, engineering and city planning relies on software which allows to generate blocks on the basis of combined input of parameters. During the process of computer shaping, forms are generated, which surprise the creator of the sculpture himself. Thanks to the initial parameters, the final shapes fulfill practical goals, such as optimal size, weight, adaptation to the environment.

The NAWA design required advanced calculations and modelling in Grasshopper software, which allowed to generate 60 blocks. Their shape was accommodated to the terrain and surroundings.

NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

Operating on the intersections of art, design and science, Oskar Zięta reaches beyond the traditional definition of an artist. During his sculpting process, the form is created with the use of digital manipulations. The initial vision of the construction of the sculpture was translated to digital language, which allowed to count the durability of its elements.

3D models situated on the mock-ups of the island allowed Zięta to test the form of the sculpture. The final mock-up was a prototype made with FiDU technology in the scale 1:2,5.

NAWA - a sculpture designed by Oskar Zięta

It may be difficult to believe, but the immense sculpture was built with the material of only 2mm of thickness. Particular modules reach up to over a few metres, and the biggest weighs only 450 kilograms.

The weight of the ultralight construction was possible thanks to FiDU – the innovative technology invented by Oskar Zięta. It allows to distort the shapes of steel elements welded together. Thanks to “inflating” it with compressed air, the metal forms become durable and stable, maintaining its lightness at the same time.

NAWA will be the first FiDU construction on such a large scale. Therefore, it will become a manifesto of this innovative technology.

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