'Forecast' by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby

Produced as part of London Design Festival

Ran from 17 September 2016 to 25 September 2016

More about this festival

London-based designers Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby have worked alongside the V&A to create 'Forecast' – a wind powered kinetic installation and the UK’s entry to the first London Design Biennale.

Inspired by meteorological instruments, Forecast is a large scale sculpture comprising wind masts, vanes and other rotating elements. The piece is predominantly made of steel and stands 14 metres high in the centre of the courtyard at Somerset House.

Alongside design installations from over 35 other nations, Forecast responds to the inaugural Biennale’s theme Utopia by Design; a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s inspirational text, as part of Somerset House’s UTOPIA 2016 season. Built by Litestructures, with engineering by Arup, the installation comprises a weathervane, turbine and anemometer, fixed to a steel base which appears to be floating in the courtyard. The manufacturing process included profiling aluminium sheets, taking moulds for the anemometer spoons made out of carbon fibre, and a series of welds of all steel and aluminium elements. Movement is triggered as the wind picks up or changes direction, creating a simple kinetic sculpture that responds to the elements.

Forecast calls to mind a romantic image of Britain’s great maritime history, with tall ships, towering masts and fluttering sails, simultaneously evoking wind turbines and weather stations. It also reflects the necessity to respond imaginatively to the need for environmental action in the face of the precarious state of the planet. The UK is at the forefront of the development in wind energy, with as much offshore capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined.

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It is a real honour to be representing Great Britain in the first London Design Biennale. Our piece, Forecast, responds to the theme of Utopia by linking our seafaring past to a future of truly sustainable power. As an island nation, Britain has historically been reliant on harnessing the power of the wind and the waves for transportation, migration, trade and exploration. Today, the UK is a world leader in offshore wind energy. Forecast is intended to reference this and highlight the opportunity for a more sustainable future.

Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby

Forecast is a giant kinetic sculpture that responds to the strength and direction of wind: signing the way of progress- past, present and future. In blurring the linearity of time, Forecast suggests that utopia doesn’t have to be unattainable, it can be here and now, and is intended as a symbolic reminder that every individual can make a difference, starting from today. Striking a delicate balance between functionality and beauty, Forecast will be an expression of what might be possible: much like Thomas More’s vision of Utopia itself.

Victoria Broackes, V&A curator

Supported by British Land, Forecast will be displayed in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House from 7 – 27 September 2016 as part of the London Design Biennale.