The Story of the Stainless Steel Orb
After months of work the stainless steel assemblage sculpture, Farrago, was installed this week in front of Fire Station #9 in Orlando.
The sculpture is a 6 foot diameter assemblage orb containing over 95 fire station specific objects. Also included are many additional visually intriguing stainless steel elements. The orb sits atop a corten steel pyramid shaped base which brings the total height of the sculpture to 11 feet. The base will oxidize over time and weather into a rich brown surface in contrast to the stainless steel which will stay bright and metallic.
From afar the sculpture appears as a reflective sphere. Approaching closer, one sees that it’s made from an organized cacophony of stainless steel hose nozzles, pry bars, ladder parts, axes, crowbars, fire extinguishers, fire truck fixtures, pots and pans, etc. It looks as if some cosmic magnet has pulled this odd collection of objects together to form a giant orb.
To create a perfect sphere I first had to make a 6 foot diameter concave hemispherical plaster mold to place the stainless objects in to facilitate welding them together. It was important that all the odd, irregularly-shaped objects hit the edge of the mold in order for a perfect sphere to be achieved. I needed to make a simple machine that consisted of an arc shaped paddle attached to an axle that would swing back and forth to make a perfect hemisphere in the wet plaster. The mold itself weighed over 400 pounds.
After the mold was complete the next task was acquiring the stainless steel objects that would become the orb. I needed a minimum of 113 sq/ft of stuff, or to picture it another way, a 10’ x 11’ floor covered with stainless steel objects. Many of the firefighting objects were obtained courtesy of Gregg McLay, Property Control Coordinator, Logistics Division, City of Orlando Fire Department. The remainder came from scrap yards, donations, and other sources.