This Sculpture Is Made of 5,000 Droplets That Collect Rainwater

published May 21, 2019
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In a stunning example of nature-inspired artistry, John Grade adopted rain and snow as the creative collaborators for his installation Reservoir. Situated in Italy’s Arte Sella sculpture park, the eye-catching piece hangs above a clearing in the middle of a pine tree grove where it collects precipitation.

To call Reservoir intricate is an understatement: It’s comprised of 5,000 individually heat-formed transparent droplets, each of them enveloped in a steam-bent wood covering. The droplets are connected to clear filament nets that cling to the surrounding tree trunks for support, the amount of which varies depending on the rain and snow accumulation. As the liquid contents increase, the shape of the net adjusts accordingly and lowers at the same time, but a pulley system prevents it from dropping any lower than 10 feet above ground. The artful display continues when the net assumes its original shape as the droplets evaporate.

When the sculpture is empty, it weighs 70 pounds but can weigh up to 800 pounds at full capacity. This intentional interaction with nature can also manually maneuver to descend and ascend in sync with dancers who performed with Reservoir during its inaugural display.

Of the inspiration to create the piece, Grade tells Bored Panda the idea was sparked by his connection with the park.

“I came up with the idea for the project by spending long periods of time simply sitting and walking through the forest at Arte Sella sculpture park and thinking through exactly why it felt so good to be there. The quiet sounds of rainfall on the forest floor were my initial point of inspiration,” he said.

“I wanted the sculpture to respond to the location and to influence our understanding of the rainfall there in a new way (because the accumulation of water could be understood visually with the sculpture’s elements),” Grade added.

In the meantime, Grade is working on plans to create another version of the sculpture that builds on the movement of Reservoir and utilizes biodegradable plastic in its design.