millimetre were asked by The London Design Festival to develop/fabricate and install Keiichi Matsuda’s Prism, a 9m high faceted 3d form with mapped image projection, suspended in the Cupola of the V&A.The artwork took a variety of data sources from around London and used them to generate projections onto the faces of each of the structures facets giving an alternative window on the city.
Keiichi described the work saying, ‘Prism presents an alternative view of London, exposing intangible data flows in the capital. It is a lens into a second city, one that is made from infrastructural data feeds and exchanges. Prism draws from a multitude of live data sources, including transport updates, traffic webcams and environmental data, and presents them in real time as a living patchwork of systems and processes.’From the technical design, fabrication and installation perspective the work presented various challenges.
The Cupola proved to be a challenging location in which to install Prism.Due to the V&A’s historical significance no fixings are allowed in the fabric of the building. All materials/equipment needed to be lifted some 45 metres from the foyer through a 3m wide Oculus into the space due to limited access routes. As a result of the limited access and workspace along with nature of the Prism’s form the work was assembled piece by piece whist suspended in mid-air.The Prism form was suspended on a supporting steel structure that took advantage of brick buttress around the perimeter of the Cupola to create compressive forces; the supporting steelwork braced it’s self against the converging brick buttress of the Cupola, allowing the 1 ton central support framework to hang unseen with prism suspended below it.
The Aluminium frame of the artwork was designed to be as stiff and light as possible, providing a rigid framework on which to stretch the Washi paper. The 49 individual frames or facets of Prism are joined using CNC folded cleats.The structure was designed to be fully recyclable – untreated steel, Aluminium and paper structure is fully recyclable.