Public Art / Airwave

'Airwave' is a public art commission for a light artwork that puts the façade of a building in motion.

Title: Airwave
Date: 2004
Dimensions: 12m x 5m
Material: Acrylic panels

Esther Rolinson created 'Airwave', a public art intervention that explored day and night light interaction on the wall of a building for a very special commission.

She collaborated with Tuke Manton Architects to bring an artwork to the design of 20 studio units that would temporarily accommodate vulnerable young people, giving structured care and allowing them to gain the life skills and confidence necessary to move on to permanent housing. Using natural light during the day and a unique design light art concept during the night, the multimedia artist made a distinctive and innovative feature of the construction’s north elevation.

'Airwave' was constructed of multiple acrylic panels positioned at varying angles from the rendered surface. Working closely with the architectural team Esther Rolinson created a sculptural system that could be integrated into the overall design of the building skin, generating a sense of motion and permeability.

'Airwave' was a public art commission for a light artwork that took into consideration the voice of young people.

As part of the project, the artist and architects Prior Manton Tuke Powell undertook a residency at neighbouring Fox Hill Primary School, making links with art, design, and citizenship in the National Curriculum. Rolinson has discussed her commission with young people and staff at Rainforest Walk and local people. It was imperative to hear what the locals (young people or not) had to say for the creative process. In this way, Rolinson’s artistic practice was deeply connected with the environment. The artist considered not only the spatial relationships but also the social context and human presence in the area, creating an integration of art, architecture, and community.

'Airwave' sets in motion the façade of the building. It is as if the inert materials have come to life and are reacting to the wind.