Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota
"Passage," WINX, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

In 2016, the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, who lives in Berlin, won the international competition for a permanent artwork in the "WINX" Tower in Frankfurt am Main. Her spectacular art installation "Passage" picks out the history of the Main metropolis as a trading city as a central theme. In total seven boats "float" in the foyer and one is hanging on the facade of the large office building.

The boat hulls are made of aluminum painted red and white respectively. They were created at the Arnold site in Steinbach-Hallenberg.

Each boat has an individual woven look made by Chiharu Shiota herself. Six of the boats were delivered to her studio in Berlin on specially designed rotating frames and in the following "woven around" by the artist with a special thread developed for fire protection.

The seventh and largest boat was first divided by Arnold into several segments for getting it through the double doors of the Winx building lobby and then assembled and suspended from the ceiling on steel cables. Finally specialists from the artist's studio wove the boat in by hand according to precise specifications.

Not only the fabrication of the boats was a real challenge. Fire protection in the lobby also had to be guaranteed. Arnold solved this constructively by routing the sprinkler supply lines invisibly through the boat hulls.

Statics also play a major role when high loads are to be suspended from a glass roof, as here in the lobby. Thanks to elaborate static calculations, the load-bearing steel cables are reliably positioned and safe load distribution is guaranteed.

The boat attached to the facade conceals a further technical refinement. Due to its outdoor positioning, the use of the yarn was unsuitable; a weatherproof solution was needed. Arnold built a 1:3 scale version of the boat and sent it to the artist, who wove it in by hand. Back at Arnold's, the weaving pattern was digitized via CAD scan, laser cut from aluminum sheet, fitted to the boat hull and attached.

Many thanks to the artist and WinX GmbH & Co. Immobilien KG for allowing us to be part of this inspiring project.

Instagram profile of the artist Chiharu Shiota


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