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30. July 2015

Flexible bronze metal mesh: organically shaped woven sculpture

Just a few miles from the metropolis of Moscow, Kuntsevo Plaza combines life, work, shopping and entertainment at a single location. With this project, the US architects from The Jerde Partnership, famous for their unusual concepts, continued to stand by their guiding principle of letting people find their own natural routes. This led to a multifunctional center, which allows the outside and inside worlds to merge organically through a network of paths. Alternating visual experiences are also intended to make the individual locations unforgettable. A huge sculpture at the heart of Kuntsevo Plaza impressively demonstrates this notion. The smooth bronze metal mesh supplied by GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG also includes large-format, curved rib structures to create an attractive artistic object in the avant-garde overall concept.

When developing their plans for Kuntsevo Plaza, the architects reinterpreted the growing identity of the neighboring areas, which are home to artists and also a university. This led to a multifunctional building complex, whose design heterogeneity is inspired by the Russian avant-garde. The complex is characterized by various building forms and heights, colors, materials and deconstructivistically arranged room structures. Curved glass façades, green roofs, sky-bars and a transparent MEDIAMESH® façade also help lend the ensemble its unmistakable look. Numerous access points grant entry to visitors, who come to go shopping in the Metro store or work at Kuntsevo Plaza, as well as to residents and passers-by. A high-end mix of exclusive businesses, apartments and offices combined with a two-storey supermarket, cinemas, restaurants and bars create a multifaceted complex. The prominent eye-catcher is a 20-metre high and 25-meter wide dome-shaped sculpture which is formed from seemingly loosely suspended semi-transparent bands and bronze webs. To this end, some 36 steel ribs of various heights were used to suspend around 2,100 square meters of Mandarin fine mesh material. The curved form of the ribs required 140 free-form cuts of the bronze metal fabric, whose contours were projected onto the mesh panels in 1:1 scale using a laser. Thanks to its flexibility, the texture flows and organically traces the lines of the three dimensional rib forms. Curved frames with clamping profiles were used to attach the materials. The almost improvised interplay between the surface area of the ribs and the semi-transparent fabric bands is what lends the sculpture its fascination. For the first time ever, GKD’s Mandarin mesh has been used in a three-dimensional installation, making it at the same time the world’s largest woven sculpture to date.

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