Project Overview

100 Beautiful Things: DS Tableau by African Robots vs SPACECRAFT⁣ 4️⃣7️⃣

Theme: Future Thinking⁣

When we were asked to collaborate with artist and designer Ralph Borland, we jumped at the chance. Part of Borland’s African Robots series, influenced by all things Star Wars with an African twist, this piece was a private commission for the entrance of a large international company’s offices in Cape Town.

This was exactly the kind of multicultural, cross discipline collaboration that we love to work on. The seven-metre-long piece is made up predominantly of traditional African wire art that depicts familiar elements from the Star Wars movies: the Death Star, rebel fighters, lightsabers. Using some of the best wire artists in Cape Town, and drawing inspiration from the old school arcade games of the ‘80s that used wire-frame 3D in the games, wire frame space ships were created “to make ‘wire frame’ spaceships like 3D models come to life.”

Jason Stapleton from Ambient 3D created 3D renders of the entire installation and of the individual components, providing the wire artists with a framework from which to work. The more complex elements were then turned into 3D templates, made from polystyrene, for wire sculptors to create much of the detailed and precisioned work that can be seen in the piece.

Technical Details

We were responsible for building the framework for the piece. We were also tasked with bringing it to life. To achieve this we installed interactive, low-tech scrollers and fluorescent light tubes to represent lightsabers. These were programmed to be dynamic and constantly changing to keep inline with the artist’s vision of the 1980s culture phenomenon that is Star Wars. We designed these elements to be interactive so that they can be programmed by the end user, again, getting back to the inspiring element of the arcade games.

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