Guangzhou Vanke Center Water Feature Artwork / Sushui Design
Text description provided by the architects. Guangzhou Siyou Vanke Center is located at the junction of Guangzhou Avenue and the ancient Pearl River waterway. Within sight distance of the Canton Tower, it is surrounded by many civic, cultural and commercial landmarks. The planning and landscape design for the project was led by SWA. Sushui Design cooperated with UAP to do the detailed design, production and installation
The work is like a sail floating in the water with a slightly tilted corner, or a piece of paper blown in the breeze. The water flows quietly and covers the entire upper surface of the work. Such a light and flexible form formed from hard stainless steel implies a contradictory beauty. Without water, the feeling of agility can be limited by the outer shape of the sculpture alone. But when the reflection of mirror-like stainless steel meets water, agility will be enhanced in an elegant and subtle way. Under the sunlight, you will find the glistening shiny waves quite relaxing and enjoyable.
Sushui’s main tasks in this project could be divided into three parts. The first was to run the water thinly evenly over the irregular surface of the work. The second was the complete balance of technical factors to control the extreme lightness of the work. And finally, the coordination with the production company to perfectly complete the construction of this work of art on the water.
First and foremost, in order to achieve a smooth water flow effect, the team used an advanced fluid simulation method. After revising the 1:1 scale model several times, the team balanced design and technical difficulties for a workable solution through multiple simulations. As shown in the image below, the fluid simulation result of the original sculpture indicated that with the water flowing along the fastest path, it could not reach the edge of the sculpture. This problem was solved by adjusting the shape and size of the edge panel of each step, and by multiplying as well as dispersing the water inlets for an even better distributed water flow.
In addition, Sushui sought out technical solutions at an ultimate small scale for the lightness and beauty of the artwork, with water effects being achieved at the same time. Working closely with UAP, the team identified the precise locations of the perforations on the beams for the piping and the locations of the water inlets on the irregular surface of the model. This was to ensure that the mechanical and engineering equipment of the water feature blended seamlessly with the structure and facade of the artwork on the smallest scale.
In addition, waterproofing has become a particularly difficult problem during the process of manufacturing and installing the sculpture. Two potential sources of water leaks were the massive amount of seams and barely 100 starlight cutout holes scattered all over the surface, which would detract from the stability and uniformity of the water film and therefore the aesthetics general. Regarding the common problem, Sushui and the UAP team explored different joint methods many times, and finally reduced the water leakage effectively. As for starlight hole lights, Sushui customized miniature lights and hole diameters tested with silicone protectors of different sizes to prevent water leakage.
All in all, unique design plan, fine digital technical methods, exquisite artwork processing, reasonable and ingenious system design, millimeter-accurate construction technology, and customer coordination and support, and the efforts of countless people were condensed into the artwork, which inspired people to perceive, communicate and remember the space of this artwork on the water.