Anish Kapoor, CBE, is the renowned British artist whose high profile sculptors include the recent ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. His work is very popular and he has a huge following around the world.
Earlier this year Central Conveyors Ltd (CCL) were approached by the Anish Kapoor Studio with a view to helping Mr Kapoor realise one of his artistic visions through the use of conveyors. Following a consultation process that involved understanding the artist’s concept, and the subtleties of how Mr Kapoor required us to translate his ideas into an achievable engineering solution, CCL were commissioned to provide and install four Belt conveyors of varying lengths, for an exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin.
Working from the artist’s initial visuals, we were asked to manufacture 11, 16, 19, and 24 metre long conveyors, all to a width of 500mm, and at a variety of specified heights. The incline of these conveyors, and the drive motors chosen, needed to be able to convey a 400mm x 400mm x 400mm block of oily wax, in a smooth, stutter-free motion, and without fear of toppling over. In the first instance we proceeded to produce 3D engineering drawings which confirmed that the desired conveyance objectives were achievable. Upon presentation to Mr Kapoor he provided the artistic instructions necessary to achieve the aesthetic qualities required to fulfil his creative vision, such as the form and quantity of the leg supports on display, and the specific colour of the structures.
While all the artistic elements of the project were achieved through the express instructions of Mr Kapoor, as conveyor engineers it was our responsibility to find the correct balance between the artist’s creative expression and the necessary engineering to ensure the structure would safely remain upright. We are very happy to announce that this task was achieved with minimal fuss. Everything the artist wanted to express has been achieved, with the added dimension of having achieved this in a historic building setting. While we always respect our customer’s commercial confidentiality, it’s not too far a stretch of the imagination to reveal that we couldn’t, for instance, simply bolt the inclined conveyors into the floors (some of which date back to the 18th century) as we would do in a factory or manufacturing environment.
Achieving Mr Kapoor’s vision really tested our ability to provide bespoke conveyor solutions. Unsurprisingly, the artist had specific ideas about the colour and material of the conveyor belting and the conveyors themselves, elements crucial to fulfilling his vision. After providing Mr Kapoor with a range of belting options it was agreed that a 2-ply black rubber belt would be employed. This selection also had to guarantee that there would be no slippage of his wax blocks along the conveyor, despite them being at inclines of 16 and 30 degrees. Without giving away any secrets we can confirm that this necessity was achieved with a practical and elegant solution. There was also the artist’s vision regarding the pace his wax blocks should move along the conveyors at. After listening to his precise needs we were able to determine the power necessary for each conveyor’s motor to achieve this vision.
Though this conveyor project provided engineering challenges unique to the artist’s vision and the environment it would reside in, one thing it had in common with the vast majority of projects we provide solutions for is time – or rather the lack of it! From initial enquiry to final installation, all of this work was achieved to the tightest of deadlines. The conveyors were built and tested at our manufacturing facilities in Leicestershire, in such a way that they could be safely and securely transported to Germany on two forty-feet long curtain side trailers over a three day period.
Of course Mr Kapoor is no stranger to producing large form structures and sculptures, so we were not surprised to learn that he has his own installation experts on hand to help fulfil the final assembly of his artistic visions. While CCL provide installation services, the circumstances of this commission meant that we would provide the artist’s chosen installers with a step-by-step construction guide – in the form of a 3D illustrated manual – and oversee this crucial phase with a senior member of our team present to coordinate the assembly process.
After what can only be described as a brilliant and exciting project for CCL, we note with pride that Mr Kapoors first exhibition in Berlin has been received with widespread critical and public acclaim. We would like to thank Mr Kapoor for selecting CCL to assist him in realising his artistic vision, and wish him all the best for his future creative endeavours which bring so much pleasure to millions of people around the world.If you would like more information on these conveyor case studies, or any other CCL conveyors or conveyor systems, call us on 01509 816064 today for an informal, no obligation chat. We’re here to listen to your conveyor enquiry and help provide you with complete conveying solutions.