In November, Nimbus, a sculpture by artist and architect Tristan Al-Haddad and the last public artwork for the new Nicollet will be installed in the forecourt of Central Library.
Constructed of weathering steel, the open elliptical form cantilevers over the Theater in the Round seating area. At night, Nimbus will cast a halo of light through perforations in its steel skin.
In August, Tristan Al-Haddad invited friends, colleagues and arts supporters to his studio and fabrication facility in Atlanta to celebrate as the sculpture neared completion.
(All photos: Phil Jones.)
Al-Haddad explains the design concept and structural principles for Nimbus.
Cross-section exploded view of Nimbus shows construction similar to an airline wing. Courtesy Tristan Al-Haddad and Formations Studio.
Visitors standing next to the work, discussing its structural components, give some indication of the 18,000-pound sculpture’s massive scale.
The overall height of the Nimbus is 18-feet to grade, with the eliptical form measuring from 30-feet to 41-feet in diameter, on its outside dimension.
Fabrication Team with Local Flair
The team fabricating the sculpture led by Tristan Al-Haddad is composed of Denise Bailey, Thomas Clarkson, Bennett Crawford, Helena Kang, Tiara Hill, Sean Miller, Miriam Robinson, Jane Thompson and Madison Vail.
Although the sculpture was constructed at Al-Haddad’s studio in Atlanta, the team has a distinctly local flair. Denise Bailey, Senior Instructor in Welding and Metal Fabrication at the Dunwoody Institute led a three-person all-female fabrication contingent from Minneapolis.
Bailey says, “I spoke with the designer, Tristan, on the phone about the project, and twenty minutes later he had convinced me to hop on a plane to Atlanta the following week to check it out. His passion is contagious and familiar. When I got there, I knew that this project was going to be a part of my life.”
Al-Haddad, whose studio often employs designers who are recent graduates, fabricators and artists giving them hands-on experience, asked Bailey if she would like to bring several graduates down to Atlanta to work on the project. Bailey recruited Industrial Engineering Technology student Tiara Hill and Welding and Technology alumnus Jane Thompson and Madison Vail to join her after seeing them thrive while working on a previous art installation.
“This kind of project is exactly what Dunwoody and carrying on a legacy is all about,” Bailey says, and “Nimbus will be one of the most visible sculptures in the City of Minneapolis.”