“I Don’t Know” by Richard Tuttle. The engineering side

8 December, 2014

“I Don’t Know. The Weave of Textile Language” by American artist Richard Tuttle is a giant art presented in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern.

This newly commissioned sculpture has been suspended from the ceiling and at more than 12 m high, is the artist’s largest-ever sculpture.

CampbellReith’s Sam Knight, Senior Engineer and Sivam Somars, Associate contributed to the sculpture’s engineering “content”.

Employed by Scott Fleary Productions to provide structural advice and analysis, the team of two analysed the internal framework proposals and modified the design to ensure a structurally efficient frame could be constructed within the limitations of the sculpture itself.

“This was a fantastic project to be involved in and only goes to highlight the vast variety of projects CampbellReith is able to deliver”, says Sam.

The sculpture combines vast sways of fabrics designed by the artist from both man-made and natural fibres in three bold and brilliant colours.

The internal structure had to remain hidden from view and fit within the shape of the various panels to avoid changing the design of the sculpture.

The final engineering design included a steel frame constructed from thin walled SHS sections welded together to form a grillage.

The Standard mentions the artist’s purpose in the ‘Drape Modern’: ‘His new piece looks at textiles and “investigates the importance of this material throughout history’.

The Guardian’s review of the sculpture looks at the artist’s classical American style:  ‘It occupies space in a very different, very American way. It is not grandiose, not histrionic. It just lives in the sky and embraces the light… It is organic, lumpen, and a delight to look at’.

The Exhibition will be open until 6 April, 2015.