The monumental sculpture ‘Qwalala’ by the American artist Pae White opened to the public on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice during the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale.
The 75 m curved wall consists of 3,000 hand-cast glass bricks of 23 kg each. The wall’s shape and colours were selected by the artist from thousands of computer-generated random combinations. Inspired from Roman glassmaking, the massive blocks shine in 25 different colors.
The curved geometry allows horizontal loads of the up to 2.40 m high wall being economically transferred via normal forces rather than bending moments in the shell like structure as well as a wall thickness of only 16 cm. Due to the historic ground and the prescribed foundation depth, the wall is based on steel plates. The short building period of only six weeks required a quick assembly of the glass bricks. Furthermore, the structure should allow an easy disassembly after the end of the exhibition. Therefore the bricks were glued together on site using a structural silicone in white.
The result is a fascinating and exciting art work that combines traditional craftsmanship with advanced engineering.