The Optic Cloak by Conrad Shawcross
The renowned British artist Conrad Shawcross has been commissioned by Knight Dragon to create a major new architectural intervention for the Greenwich Peninsula. The Optic Cloak will be visible from Summer 2016 as part of the Peninsula’s new low carbon Energy Centre, and has been designed in collaboration with the architectural practice C.F. Møller Architects. The Energy Centre will be completed in Autumn 2016.
Drawing on sources as diverse as maritime camouflage, Cubism and Op Art, Shawcross’ optical cloak system is his most ambitious public commission to date, uniting sophisticated engineering and complex optical research. The monumental structure – 49 metres high by 20 metres wide and 3 metres deep – is constructed from aluminium cladding with perforated panels. These triangular panels fold across the surface of the tower forming intricate geometric patterns that visually break up the flat planes to create an uneven sculpted surface.
A key aspect of the design is the creation of the Moiré Effect, the first time Shawcross has ever used this optical phenomenon in his work. The effect is created by overlaying the perforations on each panel at different angles to each other, resulting in a dynamic and beguiling surface which appears to change continually.