PROJECT FRAGILE: LASERMADE AND LANTEK CREATE ART IN AUSTRALIA
Constructed entirely from glass, the ghost-like model of Cockatoo Island was cut with an abrasive waterjet that used the nesting facility in the software to optimize the layout of the hundreds of glass components which made up the artwork, maximizing material utilization.
As part of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, artist Carlos Garaicoa conceived Project Fragile (Cockatoo Island) 2012, as an installation which takes Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour as its reference point together with the skeletal remains of surrounding historic buildings which serve as reminders of Sydney’s past.
Constructed entirely from glass, the ghost-like model of the island stands in Building 10 on Cockatoo Island, originally a penal establishment and later the Commonwealth Naval Dockyard, in a room formerly used for ship design and planning.
As is often seen in Carlos Garaicoa’s work, Project Fragile is a subtle critique of the island’s modernist utopian heritage and, perhaps, of its failings as a twentieth-century ideology. This fits with the theme of the exhibition, which focussed on a growing movement in the art world concerned with how things connect – how we relate to each other and to the world we inhabit.
To produce the installation, the festival project directors approached several profile cutting companies, and selected Lasermade, based in Thonleigh in north western Sydney. The company has been manufacturing architectural, engineering and signage parts for 24 years using CNC machinery. Its equipment includes nitrogen and CO2 lasers, engraving lasers, high pressure waterjet profilers, CNC router/mills and a plasma cutter.
Works Director Daniel Vale says, “The special characteristics of our waterjet machine made it possible for us to take on this daunting project.” Lasermade recently updated its CAD/CAM system from Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain) and it used the nesting facility in the software to optimize the layout of the hundreds of glass components which made up the artwork, maximizing material utilization.
It was then able to automatically generate the CNC code for its waterjet machine. As well as working to a tight completion deadline, the company also had to prepare special packaging for the delicate glass components. Vale adds, “We are proud of our achievement in delivering this project on time. Our skills in logistics helped us to transport the large and fragile panels safely across Sydney and onwards by barge to Cockatoo Island. There we handed them over to the festival team for assembly and display at the exhibition, making a link between modern technology and art.”
Carlos Garaicoa and Lantek share a common Spanish heritage. The Lantek software is developed and marketed from the company’s headquarters in northern Spain and sold throughout the world. The artist resides in Madrid and Havana and has exhibited his work in the U.S., France, Ireland, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand and Germany.
Lantek is a leading multinational specializing the development and distribution of integrated CAD/CAM and ERP solutions for the sheet metal and fabrication sectors. Its capacity for innovation and its firm commitment to internationalisation have led the company, founded in 1986 in the Basque Country, to become a global reference with its solutions for sheet metal cutting and punching.
The company now has over 12,000 customers in over 100 countries, its own offices in Spain, the U.S., Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, China, South Korea, France, Japan, India, Poland, Mexico, Turkey and the Czech Republic, and a network of distributors that extend its presence throughout the world. In 2010 its international operations provided 84 percent of its turnover. www.lanteksms.com