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Ball-Nogues Studio Creates Incredible Hanging Sphere Installation

Cradle by Ball-Nogues, Photo by Monica Nouwens

The Cradle
Ball-Nogues Studio
Santa Monica, California
2010

In 2010, Ball-Nogues Studio was commissioned by the City of Santa Monica to create an installation for the exterior of a parking structure located at a shopping mall designed by Frank Gehry. Inspired by Newton’s Cradle, the piece demonstrates the conservation of momentum and energy via a series of hanging spheres. Yet, unlike Newton’s design, the project employs gigantic polished stainless steel spheres suspended by individual cables. To create a modernized version of its predecessor, “sphere packing” computer software was utilized.

Cradle by Ball-Nogues, Photo by Benjamin Ball 2

Cradle by Ball-Nogues, Photo by Ayodh Kameth

Sphere packing, or the phenomenon where multiple balls squeezed together self-organize as a result of gravity, allowed the designers to visualize the Cradle before its creation in the physical world.

Cradle by Ball-Nogues Photo via Ball-Nogues Studio

Located in a highly trafficked area, the aggregation of balls is suspended above bystanders, whose distorted images are reflected back at them.

Cradle by Ball-Nogues, Photo by Benjamin Ball 1

Going much further than the initial Newton reference, the designers envisioned the symbology of the Cradle to be much more provocative. The piece was meant to resemble a banana hammock, like the ones men wear at the beach, or even a female reproductive system. Each passerby created a new inference for the piece, and although the symbology behind the installation is quite comical, its execution was quite extraordinary.

Cradle by Ball-Nogues, Photo by Benjamin Ball 3

images © Benjamin Ball, Ayodh Kameth, and Monica Nouwens
info © Ball-Nogues Studio

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About lexieludlowgroup

The Ludlow Group Blog is an advertising blog where you'll find posts on social media, design, marketing, ad campaigns, photography and architecture

4 comments on “Ball-Nogues Studio Creates Incredible Hanging Sphere Installation

  1. BiltBlog
    April 3, 2012

    Incredible, the engineering process is perhaps more interesting than the result. This reminds me of the O-14 tower by Reiser Umemoto.

    http://www.arcspace.com/architects/reiser_umemoto/o14/o14.html

    The photo of the huge foam cut-outs used to form the pores in the facade is awesome (if you can get over the fact that these volatile things are landfill-bound shorty thereafter)

    • lexieludlowgroup
      April 3, 2012

      According to the designers the process was very similar to the technique of slip casting ceramics, if you get a chance you should check out their fabrication photos.

      http://www.ball-nogues.com/#project-13

      The Reiser Umemoto project is stunning, I love perforated facades. I did not think about how the foam isn’t recyclable and ends up in a landfill, that’s very interesting. I guess it won’t be receiving any sort of LEED certification!

  2. drawandshoot
    April 3, 2012

    Wow! Interesting symbology, I’m not sure that would have been my first thought! =)

    • lexieludlowgroup
      April 3, 2012

      haha! Not sure it would have been mine either, but interesting nevertheless. Thanks for commenting Karen!

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