Helical Dance

Schering-Plough Research Institute, Kenilworth, NJ

Helical Dance, 1993, 116"x82"x54", Cherry, Maple, Ebonized Mahogany, Sandblasted Colorcore(c)

This ten-foot high work incorporates the molecular structure of Gamma Interferon, depicted 380 million times its actual size.  Working with the scientists who discovered the structure, and using 3-D computer models to create working drawings like this, I aimed for a design that would be visually engaging as well as scientifically accurate.

The structure consists of two interwoven chains (executed in cherry and maple) each consisting of six helical bands of varying length joined by irregular loops.  One band (shown above) was bent.  The work required development of a system for laminating and trimming the helical bands. Using Design CAD 3-D on a DOS-based 486 computer, I developed working drawings of each section and then plotted full-sized prints. One of the most complex tasks was to develop a system to plot coordinates in space so the work could be accurately assembled.  Once assembled the structure is self-supporting.

"By placing the vine-like molecule on a form resembling a garden arbor, I hoped to provide a familiar frame of reference to the uninitiated viewer"

- Craig Nutt