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Diales work with Gerry Judah on a new sculpture – Jacob’s Ladder

JACOB’S LADDER is a new sculpture designed by Gerry Judah and engineered by Diales for Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, New Zealand.

Image of Jacob's Ladder on hill - Gerry Judah - Engineering by Diales

Photo: David Hartley-Mitchell

This is yet another collaboration between Diales and Gerry Judah after the success of both the BMW and the Bernie Ecclestone centrepieces for the 2016 and 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The BMW sculpture earned Diales a commendation in the Structural Artistry category from the Institute of Structural Engineers at the 2017 IStructE Awards. Other works recently completed or under construction are a sculpture for Porsche cars at Ascot racecourse, a sculpture for a private collector in Mexico, and another spectacular installation currently in progress for the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Diales team of Bruno Postle and Hooman Baghi, led by Stuart Macdougald-Denton and Stuart Holdsworth, are experts in the field of light-weight, slender and high-performance structures – along with the use of computerised design techniques and Building Information Modelling (BIM) for delivering high precision complex geometries.

Gerry Juday and Diales Jacob's Ladder sculpture

Photo: David Hartley-Mitchell

Gibbs Farm is a thousand-acre private sculpture park near Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand. The farm features over thirty monumental sculptures from a roll-call of top international contemporary artists including Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor and Andy Goldsworthy – a roll-call now graced with this elegant new piece commissioned from Gerry Judah. Alan Gibbs is a New Zealand businessman, entrepreneur and art collector who has been assembling the Gibbs Farm collection for twenty-six years.

Gerry Judah is a British artist and sculptor who has exhibited in many locations including the Imperial War Museum and St Paul’s Cathedral. Gerry is also responsible for the last twenty-five years of increasingly spectacular centrepiece sculptures for the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, latterly assisted by Diales.

JACOB’S LADDER is 34 meters (112 feet) high and weighs 46 tonnes. Made from 480 lengths of steel, stacked one on top of each other, each slightly different in length and size, shifted and rotated relative to the layer below, ultimately producing the final gracefully curving shape – this despite the components themselves all being simple straight steel sections. To achieve this effect Diales created custom software that generated the smooth curved shape, and sliced this shape into layers of varying thickness, all in order to assemble both a structural analysis model and precise cutting and assembly instructions.

The sculpture is on top of a hill in an extremely inaccessible location. The structure needed to account for both tropical cyclones and earthquakes, and was designed to British Standard, Eurocode and local Australian/New Zealand Code of Standards. This was a challenging project delivered on-time and on-budget to the highest levels of detail with an immaculate finish. Due to logistical and on-site constraints, the Diales team provided detailed design including splice-connections and welding to coordinate with the local contractor’s safe method of construction.

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