Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick, Installation Art

Titled "Bleigiessen"

The shape was inspired by the German custom of Bleigiessen. On New Year’s Eve small chunks of lead are melted in a spoon held over a candle. The molten lead is then poured from the spoon into a bowl of cold water, where it hardens almost immediately. Each person tries to determine what he or she ‘sees’ in the hardened lead, much like trying to find shapes in the clouds on a summer day. The shape of the lead determines the future of that person for the year to come.

The shape was inspired by the German custom of Bleigiessen. On New Year’s Eve small chunks of lead are melted in a spoon held over a candle. The molten lead is then poured from the spoon into a bowl of cold water, where it hardens almost immediately. Each person tries to determine what he or she ‘sees’ in the hardened lead, much like trying to find shapes in the clouds on a summer day. The shape of the lead determines the future of that person for the year to come.

Heatherwick’s studio produced over 400 lead pieces, before settling on one five centimeter piece that would become the basis for the sculpture. That bit of lead was extrapolated into a 30 meter tall instillation using 142,000 glass spheres suspended on 27,000 high tensile steel wires.