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Giant Steel Monster Sculpture

The Kraken Sculpture by Oskar Zięta Resembles a Giant Squid

— August 13, 2021 — Keynote Trends
Oskar Zięta, a Polish artist and designer creates inflatable steel sculptures and design pieces. This year he gave life to a zoomorphic structure resembling a giant squid.

Public sculpture entering public buildings and urban spaces has been a trending contemporary medium of awakening discussions and debates on how the public space is used and how it serves the common interests.

In 2017, with another inflatable steel sculpture, NAWA urban pavilion, Oskar Zięta proved that sculptures placed in urban spaces can contribute to the revitalization of their surroundings thus becoming a vital part of the city. This time the artist decided to interact with the historical space of the Artus Court in Gdańsk, The enormous steel Kraken, a squid-like form inspired by sea depths that will hang over the visitors’ heads till November 2021.

Zięta is an architect, artist, and process designer, creator of over 200 original utility forms, author of sculptures that demonstrate his passionate experimental approach to design. Known for geometric steel forms in public spaces, he reached for inspiration to the sea-related history of the Polish city of Gdańsk.

Like other Zięta projects, Kraken is made of polished steel using FiDU technology of blowing metal with pressurized air that gives all Zięta's steel designs an inflatable-like aspect. This method of volumetric expansion (or a “controlled loose of control”) provides the designer and artist with amazing possibilities of creating big lightweight structures of various shapes: from geometric and minimalist to undulating and organic. Kraken sculpture is an example of the latter approach – it consists of a geometric corpus with eight tentacles of different shapes and lengths. It has a grace and smoothness of a living being that has just entered this gothic monumental space…

The sculpture is a representation of the legendary sea creature that Pliny the Elder wrote about – the monster inhabited the Strait of Gibraltar, where it attacked the ships passing there. In the modern era, the creature was described by Erik Pontoppidan in his work Natural history of Norway (1752). Thus, it is a perfect example of a trend for large-scale organic sculptures. It also resembles Philippe Starck’s maximized Juicy Salif or the famous spider sculptures by Louise Bourgeois. Its polished surface reflects all the artifacts gathered in the Court and perfectly blends into its decorative interior, hovering among the historical models of ships, above the heads of the visitors.

It brings to mind the depths of the sea but is also a manifesto of the recognizable style of Oskar Zięta – who transforms cold steel into poetic inflatable steel sculptures inspired by organic structures.

Oskar Zięta is the author of the iconic PLOPP stool (2007), and the highest sculpture in public space in Poland, WIR (2017), as well as NAWA (2017), a pavilion sculpture nominated for the prestigious European Mies van der Rohe award.

Image Credit: Agnieszka Grabowska, Dariusz Kula, Martyna Jab?o?ska-Makowska
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