- Article by Alexa Kempton
- Photography by tony gorsevski
Melbourne’s Federation Square has been transformed with a large, translucent public sculpture made from approximately 30km of packing tape.
The installation, called Tape Melbourne, has been created by Numen/For Use – a design collective formed by Austrian designer Christoph Katzler, Croatian designers Sven Jonke and Nikola Radeljkovic.
This temporary, site-specific piece was built in-situ over the course of eight days. Layers of packing tape have been stretched and wound between a series of anchor points to create an enclosed space with a strong, layered and semi-transparent surface – a completely organic form produced without the use of design software, just the hands of 12 RMIT design students, two University of Melbourne students and the vision of Numen/For Use.
The structure runs along the Western Terrace of Fed Square, supported by the external walls of the SBS building and a temporary platform. Visitors can climb inside the structure, and explore the tunnels defined by the elastic skin of tape. The existing 16-metre span is the greatest span Numen/For Use has ever achieved with their tape experiments, and as a result is a more slender, sinewy form than the group’s earlier works in Europe.
Numen/For Use’s tape constructions began as an experiment for a theatre set design, before the group created their celebrated installation at Vienna Design Week 2009. Initially just an experiment with materiality, the concept morphed into an interactive art form when Numen/For Use realised the layered tape was strong enough to support the weight of visitors within the installation. Part sculpture and part architecture, their work has transitioned from an organic sculptural form into a temporary architectural structure that encourages visitors to engage with it.
The project has been commissioned by Fed Square for their Creative Program – which transforms the square into a platform for public artworks, installations and performances to drive public engagement with artists and creatives. The program is an important initiative that uses one of Melbourne’s most prominent civic spaces as a stage for art, design and urban intervention.
The Melbourne installation is the first time Numen/For Use have taken their concept out of Europe, having previously created installations at 2009 Vienna Design Week, DMY Berlin 2010, the Mikser Design Expo in Belgrade in 2010 and at the Schirn Kunsthalle gallery in Frankfurt.
Numen/For Use’s Tape Melbourne is currently installed at Fed Square, and is open until Saturday 24 September.