The start of the 1970′s marked a new era for stainless steel when sculptors & artists around the world began to use the alloy for their sculptures. Stainless steel is particularly well suited for use in outdoor sculptures due to the material’s durability and its ability to withstand the corrosive forces of nature. In addition, many sculptors use stainless steel for its reflective properties which adds an extra visual dimension to the artwork.
Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Fabricated from 316L stainless steel plate, the Cloud Gate is one of the world’s largest stainless steel sculptures weighing 98 tonnes and measuring 66 feet in length. The sculpture – designed to resemble a giant drop of liquid mercury – is famous for its unique reflective properties achieved through its highly polished finish which has no visible seams despite containing more than 2,500 lineal feet of seam welds.
Cloud gate was formally opened on the 15th May 2006 and since then has become one of the main tourist attractions of Chicago.
Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Standing at 630 feet (192 metres) tall, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man made monument in the USA and the tallest stainless steel monument in the world. The sculpture is clad in 804 tonnes of stainless steel and currently holds the world record for the most steel used in any one project in history.
The sculpture is the centrepiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. The sculpture is recognised as an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis.
Jerusalem Upside Down, Jerusalem, Israel.
Jerusalem Upside Down is an hourglass-shaped sculpture located on the highest point of The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The piece is 5 metres tall and 5 metres in diameter and flips the whole city of Jerusalem into the sky, signifying the spiritual importance of Jerusalem as a heavenly city.
Sibelius Monument, Helsinki, Iceland.
The Sibelius Monument in Helsinki, Iceland, is dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Weighing around 24 tonnes, the sculpture is made up of more than 600 stainless steel tubes, welded together in a wave-like formation which resembles the shape of organ pipes.
Sky Mirror, Nottingham, United Kingdom
The Sky Mirror is a 6 metre wide concave sculpture is made from strips of stainless steel sourced in the UK. The sculpture was forged in Finland and finished in Wellingborough to achieve it’s highly reflective surface.
The Sky Mirror is attached to a water feature in the forecourt area of the Nottingham Playhouse – on of the leading English theatres.
Cones, Canberra, Australia
Stretching over 20 metres, the Cones sculpture consists of 7 highly polished stainless steel cones. The work interacts with its environment, reflecting and distorting the shapes and colours of the surrounding trees. The work was commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia and was opened to the public in 1982.
Unisphere, New York, USA.
Constructed from 304L Stainless Steel, the Unisphere in New York, USA, is 43 metres tall and weighs 320,000 kg. The sculpture – commissioned to celebrate the beginning of the space age – is a spherical stainless steel representation of the Earth, encircled by 3 large orbit rings which represent the tracks of the first manned space missions.
Man of Steel, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Expected to be completed in 2015, the Man of Steel sculpture will be a 30 metre high landmark which was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the discovery of stainless steel by Sheffiled Metallurgist Harry Brearley. Located close to the Tinsley Viaduct between Rotherham and Sheffield, the sculpture will be visible to 100,000 vehicles a day travelling up the M1 Motorway.