Built up from a total of almost two hundred different layers of Arctic blue acrylic, this enormous translucent sculpture made a huge impact at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
We began drawing John Everiss’s design in February. It was important that all parts were precisely nested to reduce waste during machining on our CNC flat-bed laser cutter. This machine produces exceptionally clean edges and corners and with the cut edges of the acrylic forming the sculptural shape, a clean finish was essential. Each layer was different, varying in size from 4.6m by 2.5m at the base, to a tiny 30mm by 50mm layer at the tip of one of the fingers. The head was built in five sections, each supported internally with stainless steel rods and each layer of blue acrylic separated with clear acrylic spacers. Steel base plates and hidden platework provided additional stability.
Not only is the head shape naturally top-heavy, but sheet acrylic is prone to deformation. Modelling during the design process built a partial picture of how the material might behave, but test building provided us with the precise information required for an efficient and safe installation on site. We are delighted that the garden won a silver-gilt medal.