The art installation called "Tower of Varieties" is a site-specific installation created in partnership with Pangaea Sculptors' Centre for the foyer of the Birmingham Hippodrome. This artwork has been commissioned to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Hippodrome as a leading performing arts venue which began as The Tower of Varieties circus in 1899.
Layers of suspended organic forms adorned with architectural imagery ascend the staircase void of the Hippodrome's foyer, punctuated by angular gleaming aluminium evocative of what one might find backstage. Tower of Varieties is a site-specific artwork that employs architectural history and technical theatre apparatus to highlight the fascination textures of the city of Birmingham in the context of the city's most acclaimed theatre. In honour of the Hippodrome's 120th birthday, Tower of Varieties celebrates the Hippodrome through 120 years of Birmingham's remarkable built environment.
The installation is comprised of twelve sculptures, representing the twelve decades of the Hippodrome's existence. The imagery reflects a range of architectural styles found throughout the city from buildings that have been realised during the past 120 years. The featured architecture ranges from the majestic red brick Aston Webb building at the University of Birmingham to the biomorphic futurist forms of Selfridges. The sculptural shapes found in Tower of Varieties are derived from specimens observed by the artist at the Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham. The suspended layers are reminiscent of geological strata, implying different time periods in reference to the changes of the architectural styles in Birmingham over the past 120 years.
The title Tower of Varieties imbues meaning to the artwork through context and history. Tower of Varieties is the original name of the Birmingham Hippodrome when it was redesigned as a theatre in 1899. The term "Tower" also relates to truss and scaffolding which are the main structural components utilised in the piece. Tower of Varieties is a tower a viewer can climb metaphorically, experiencing a variety of site-specific sculptural layers featuring the textures of Birmingham from multiple perspectives as they ascend or descend the Hippodrome's staircase.
Truss UK supplied sections of our LT triangular truss for this installation, working with the artist to provide them with all the technical information they required for an installation of this nature. The LT triangular truss is incredibly versatile, quick and easy to assemble, offering optimum strength for its compact size even when used in the vertical plane as for this application.
Truss UK are a proud British manufacturer of aluminium truss and fabricated metallic products and welcome the challenge of any project.
To read more about Rachael Champions work please visit www.rachaelchampion.com
James Jordan, Business Development Manager at Truss UK comments "We pride ourselves on providing technically correct solutions for our clients, This project was interesting not only because of the original piece of artwork by a renowned artist but in the unusual way in which the truss was loaded".