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When approached by artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey to help with their series of sculptures commissioned for the Olympic Park, the team at Expedition couldn’t help but get excited. We knew that the artists’ reputation for using natural and living materials in their work would add a new dimension to an already challenging project.

A large tree encircled by a hovering ring will mark each of the ten entrances to the Olympic Park. Each one is 6m in diameter, fabricated in bronze or stainless steel and hung from the trees trunks on cables. The rings were fabricated and delivered to site in two halves and joined together surrounding the tree while suspended in the air. We worked hard to provide seamless joints, structurally sound but barely visible from the ground. Treating the sculpture as a fine piece of jewellery; we kept the fixings to the tree and ring as small and discreet as possible so that each ring appears to be levitating around its tree.

One of the trees is enveloped by what is known as the spirit ring, whose shadow will be cast in bronze installed on the ground so that at a critical moment of the games the ring’s shadow will align with its bronze sibling. We were able to use our 3D modelling and daylight tracking capabilities to help visualise and plot the shadow on the ground so that the shape and corresponding date and time of the shadow ring could be chosen… using technology to capture the spirit of the games.

Chris Wise

Client: Olympic Delivery Authority

Artist: Ackroyd & Harvey

Fabricator: Benson Sedgwick

Installation: Willerby Landscapes

Typography: Harry Pearce, Pentagram Design

Status: Completed 2012

Olympic Park Entrance Markers