We commissioned multidisciplinary art group Troika (Eva Rucki, Conny Freyer and Sebastien Noel) to create a sculpture that would welcome passengers to the new British Airways Galleries Lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5. Troika responded with the brilliant and well-conceived kinetic sculpture, Cloud. Suspended between the escalators, Cloud signals the soft transition between the hustle and bustle of the shopping mall and the sanctuary of the British Airways Galleries by evoking the sensation of elevation and the feeling of rising above clouds and passing from grey skies into sunshine during a flight. At 5 metres long, Cloud was the first non-rectangular 3D structure ever made using 'flip dot' technology, a technique previously seen on 2D information boards in railway stations and travel hubs. Using over 5,000 'flip dots', with bespoke engineering and specially developed animation software, Cloud constantly changes throughout the day. Troika programmed the 'flip dots' to audibly flip between black and silver, creating a mesmerising wave and sound as they chase each other along the surface of the cloud. Reflecting its surroundings, the mechanical mass is transformed by external colours into an organic form that appears to come alive, shimmering and flirting with onlookers passing by both above and below.
Cloud was commissioned by Artwise for British Airways during our 16-year working relationship. British Airways had recognised the potential that art could play in its re-branding by increasing brand awareness and creating a new, contemporary image for the company. Our aim for BA was to establish a series of long-term strategies and a programme of diverse artist-led initiatives that would incorporate the company's goals and engage both passengers and staff. These strategies needed to reflect the world-class status of the company and also demonstrate its innovation and leadership within the industry through art.
From 1996-2012 Artwise built and managed the British Airways Art Collection (ultimately amassing over 2000 works of art), curated the lounges globally and commissioned over 50 artists to do site-specific bespoke works. In addition to Troika’s award-winning sculpture Cloud, other notable commissions include: two wall drawings by Sol LeWitt; an audio walk by Janet Cardiff, award-winning sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy, and Dutch design collective Droog, with Frank Tjepkema’s which won the prestigious accolade of Dutch Design Award of the Year.
Cloud was the recipient of the D and D Yellow Pencil Award for Digital Installations, 2009