Architecture

Levitating building melts minds in London's Covent Garden

Levitating building melts mind...
Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder by British artist Alex Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder by British artist Alex Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder, by British artist Alex Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder, by British artist Alex Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Chinneck will explain the process behind the construction in further detail in person at the site on October 15 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Chinneck will explain the process behind the construction in further detail in person at the site on October 15 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
"The hovering building introduces contemporary art to traditional architecture, performing a magic trick of spectacular scale to present the everyday world in an extraordinary way," says Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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"The hovering building introduces contemporary art to traditional architecture, performing a magic trick of spectacular scale to present the everyday world in an extraordinary way," says Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
The project involved producing a convincing copy of the 184 year old market building which lies behind it (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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The project involved producing a convincing copy of the 184 year old market building which lies behind it (Photo: Jeff Moore)
CNC-carved expanded polystyrene was used to create the building (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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CNC-carved expanded polystyrene was used to create the building (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Alex Chinnick had help a from a team of specialists which included architectural consultants, structural engineers, steel fabricators, carpenters, and set builders (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Alex Chinnick had help a from a team of specialists which included architectural consultants, structural engineers, steel fabricators, carpenters, and set builders (Photo: Jeff Moore)
The building was prefabricated before being transported to the site by truck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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The building was prefabricated before being transported to the site by truck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
On-site construction took four days (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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On-site construction took four days (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder by British artist Alex Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder by British artist Alex Chinneck (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Chinneck will explain the process behind the construction in detail when he appears in Covent Garden on October 15 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Chinneck will explain the process behind the construction in detail when he appears in Covent Garden on October 15 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Alex Chinnick had help a from a team of specialists which included architectural consultants, structural engineers, steel fabricators, carpenters, and set builders (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Alex Chinnick had help a from a team of specialists which included architectural consultants, structural engineers, steel fabricators, carpenters, and set builders (Photo: Jeff Moore)
The project involved producing a convincing copy of the 184 year old market building which lies behind it (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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The project involved producing a convincing copy of the 184 year old market building which lies behind it (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
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Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24 (Photo: Jeff Moore)
Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
The polystyrene building was prefabricated and transported to the site by truck (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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The polystyrene building was prefabricated and transported to the site by truck (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
The polystyrene is supported by a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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The polystyrene is supported by a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Construction took four days (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Construction took four days (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
The building is made from polystyrene, with a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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The building is made from polystyrene, with a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
The building is made from polystyrene, with a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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The building is made from polystyrene, with a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Photo documenting the construction process (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
The building is made from polystyrene, with a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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The building is made from polystyrene, with a steel framework (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Construction took four days (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Construction took four days (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)
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Part of the building being lowered into place by crane (Photo: Chris Tubbs)

We've covered a number of unusual architecture projects here at Gizmag, but Alex Chinneck's latest creation is probably the first that appears to levitate. Following his sliding facade project in Margate, England, the British artist is back and wowing visitors to London's Covent Garden with Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder: a melding of architecture and art that features a market building apparently floating 3m (10 ft) in mid-air.

The 12 m (40 ft)-long prefabricated building is constructed mostly from CNC-cut polystyrene, and features a large gash in the middle, with the top half of the building apparently left unsupported – though eagle-eyed readers may cast suspicion on a conveniently-situated green cart resting against the outside of the building.

A 14 tonne (15.68 US tons) steel framework and a 4 tonne (4.48 US tons) counterweight were used to support the structure, and Chinneck employed a team of specialists including architectural consultants, structural engineers, steel fabricators, carpenters, and set builders, to help build it. The installation was transported to Covent Garden in pieces by truck and assembled within four days.

The project involved producing a convincing copy of the 184 year old market building which lies behind it (Photo: Jeff Moore)
The project involved producing a convincing copy of the 184 year old market building which lies behind it (Photo: Jeff Moore)

"My objective was to create an accessible artwork that makes a harmonious but breath-taking contribution to its historic surroundings, leaving a lasting and positive impression upon the cultural landscape of Covent Garden and in the minds of its many visitors," says Chinneck. "The hovering building introduces contemporary art to traditional architecture, performing a magic trick of spectacular scale to present the everyday world in an extraordinary way."

Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder will be on display to the public in Covent Garden's East Piazza until October 24, and Chinneck will explain the process behind the construction in detail when he appears in Covent Garden on October 15.

Check out the gallery and video below for some further insight into how it was made.

Source: Alex Chinneck

Take My Lightning But Don't Steal My Thunder

2 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is way cool. I think the video is fascinating.
owlbeyou
One wonders how it looks from behind or other angles not shown to us. It is a remarkable work that is not so much architectural as it is engineered aesthetic form. It's a pity that it's ephemeral; had it been made of textured sheet metals or other lightweight materials and lasted more than a couple of weeks, but perhaps it's best this way. I (we) should have been there.