Marc Fornes creates sculptural installation for a Texas park

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Marc Fornes uses over 1,000 perforated aluminium shingles for Texas park sculpture

Designer Marc Fornes has completed his first permanent installation in the US: an arching structure made of more than 1,000 perforated aluminium shingles (+ slideshow).

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

Called Spineway, the project was constructed inside Woodlawn Lake Park in San Antonio, southern Texas. The century-old park is a popular destination for local residents.

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

Meant to serve as a gateway for the park, the installation consists of 1,009 perforated aluminium shingles fastened together by 19,429 rivets. The structure was created using digital design and fabrication tools.

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

Fornes' studio, Marc Fornes/The Very Many – which is based in New York and Strasbourg, France – is known for its sinuous installations made of aluminium. Previous examples include a project for a French school that was unveiled last year.

The firm said it uses aluminium because it is durable, lightweight and low-maintenance.

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

Reaching 20 feet in height (six metres), the Texas structure is anchored to the ground via 12 precast concrete feet, all of which sit atop a 280-square-foot (26-square-metre) concrete pad.

The piece is 63 feet wide and 26 feet deep (19 by eight metres).

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

"An infrastructural project designed and built to fit the scale of neighbourhood play, Spineway is consistent with the studio's approach of exploring structural performance while catalysing public places through dynamic and unique spatial experiences," said the firm.

"A conceptual bridge with surrounding neighbourhoods, the piece reflects the movement of people from every direction that use the park."

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

The installation is designed to serve as a visual link to the historic campus of St Mary's University, which is located a few blocks away. It also it intended to serve as a transitional marker between two main thoroughfares, the Cincinnati Avenue Corridor and the Park-University Corridor.

The studio used a structural system and construction methods that are similar to those used for a massive segmental bridge, made by locking together prefabricated pieces.

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

"The interdependent structural network comprises catenary arches, in which the stresses and loads of each depend on one another as part of a complete system," the firm explained.

The prefabricated parts were assembled by a team of five people over the course of five days.

The installation's "chiseled surface motif" is derived from structural stress flows.

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

The aluminium panels are painted 22 different colours that appear to change with the light throughout the day. At night, LEDs emit a soft glow.

The project was commissioned by the city as part of its public art program.

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

"Marc Fornes is a dynamic and well-respected artist known throughout the world, and we are honoured that San Antonio is the home of Marc's first outdoor public art installation in the country," said Felix N Padrón, director of the city's Department for Culture & Creative Development, in a statement.

"His sculpture adds a new dynamic to Woodlawn Lake Park, while integrating the surroundings and maintaining the character of the park."

Spineway by Marc Fornes and theverymany public architecture in San Antonia, Texas, USA

Other work by Fornes includes a narrow house in Strasbourg with an indoor slide, and a bright pink aluminium installation that was constructed inside New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture.