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Case study




In one of Black Light’s more unusual (but most magical) projects, our team was asked to suspend a giant balloon sculpture high up in the atrium of the Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland. The sculpture was one of the highlights of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Our involvement shows that we are trusted by our clients to come up with innovative technical solutions to even the most unexpected of challenges.

Completion: March 2013
Location: Edinburgh
Client: Edinburgh International Science Festival
Kit list

•    Steel Wire Rope
•    Reutlingers
•    Custom White span sets against white pillars
The Project

The sculpture, titled Pisces, was created for the Edinburgh Science Festival by world-renowned New York experimental artist Jason Hackenwerth. It took three members of the Science Festival staff six days to blow up the balloons that were used to create it. It was an amazing, multi-coloured spiraled double helix structure that stood over 40 feet tall.

We were specifically asked to come up with a way to suspend the sculpture during its installation period, to raise it for a grand ‘reveal’ and then to secure it in its final position in the Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland.

What we did

We are able to produce a creative, effective technical solution to the project brief that met the client’s requirements while not clashing with the aesthetics of the venue. We did this using steel wire rope, Reutlingers and Custom White span sets.

Specialist rigging for the project was installed by two of our NRC and IRATA qualified riggers.

The key steps in the project included:

•    Installation of rigging and system to allow sculpture to be raised slowly during its installation period.
•    Securing rigging for the reveal of the sculpture.
•    The removal of the installation.

Key Challenges

The main technical challenge posed by this project was the fact that our team was working in a building that didn’t have any structural calculations for loading its roof. This meant that we had to work closely with a team of structural engineers and with the museum’s in-house maintenance team.

When we were making our choices about what equipment and techniques to use, we had to carefully consider the aesthetics of the musuem and the space in which we would be working. The grand gallery is a very architecturally-impressive exhibition space so it was important to maintain this look when we suspended the balloon sculpture.


The construction of the sculpture went without any hitches
(except for some popped balloons). The final reveal of the sculpture and its suspension in its final position also went smoothly. The client was happy with the outcome of the project and the sculpture was widely regarded as one of the highlights of the Science Festival.

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