A light breeze makes the leaves swirl, square objects rotate and chimes tinkle at DoScience, the experiential science centre corner in Sanjeevaiah Park in Hyderabad. Robust and metallic, these artistic kinetic wind sculptures captivate viewers as they gracefully spin in the wind.
The centre, that has been fabricating its own Science models, wanted to explore more innovative concepts and take up an engineering challenge. “Greater Hyderabad Muncipal Corporation (GHMC), which had been looking to place unique models at traffic islands, got in touch with us,” informs Aparna Vishwanatham, co-founder, Bookmark Trust. This resulted in the first of the creations — two wind sculptures, a butterfly design and a spinner with blades (akin to a fan) that were installed at Khairatabad and Telugu Talli flyover in November 2019.
Having succeeded in creating two models that rotated on a horizontal axis, the team set out to make wind sculptures with vertical axis. After brainstorming about designs, a five-member team fabricated the exhibits — the team handles installation and outsources laser cutting and fine welding that needs large machinery— at a unit attached to their Science centre. The work on designs took off from June, 2020 (Unlock 1.0) and the team has created nine kinetic wind sculptures till now.
Post the easing of lockdown, families trickling into the park are enamoured by these models built on aerodynamic forces. The wind-powered curved artistic metal pieces give rise to a sense of wonder, and also give children a headstart to Science. “Our core principle has been to initiate learning in a happy, informal way sans any age restriction. When we bring a science model into a public space, like a sculpture at a traffic island or in a park, it gets people talking about the art and the conversation around Science becomes mainstream,” points out Aparna.
A light breeze with a minimum speed of 1.5 meters per second is enough for a rhombus wind sculpture to gently rotate. The sculpture needs maintenance once every three years.
Aparna adds, “During research, we also found that these are commonly found internationally in public spaces and even houses (smaller, five-feet-tall ones) but are rare in India.”
The main challenge to engineering a kinetic wind sculpture lies in its balance. Citing an example of kites, Aparna explains, “It is not just breeze that flies a kite; it needs to be built to balance forces required for the kite to stay up in the sky. One needs to engineer the forces for a movement so that they perform the function that you want them to.”
With a range of colour schemes, these easy-to-install wind sculptures are also up for sale in Hyderabad and other cities, priced between ₹2.5 lakhs and ₹3.5 lakhs per unit range.
Different wind sculptures
Made of mild steel blades, The Windmills (17 feet high) has two windmill-like fans (diameters of eight feet and six feet), each rotating about the horizontal axis. Together, they rotate about the vertical axis.
The Rhombus (two models — 8 ft 9 and 7 ft 2 in outer diagonal) is a nested square formed by two Ls and a central square. The three components rotate individually, about the vertical axis and require only a wind speed of 1.0 mps to gently move.
The Butterflies (17 feet) has two fans with nine blades, each rotating about the horizontal axis. The two fans together rotate about the vertical axis.
The Chimes has 16 rotating circular-ring stainless pipes with gongs
The Helix and the Double Helix have 12x2 leaves (in the shape of DNA) and 15x2 leaves on 10-foot and 12-foot long poles. The leaves rotate about a vertical axis.
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