Not many people know that you can actually inflate stainless steel! Whilst you won’t be able to buy stainless steel party balloons anytime soon, you can see inflated stainless steel used to good effect in the new Halo sculpture – the centrepiece to the new Trinity Square development in Gateshead.
The giant Halo ring, which gives the appearance of defying gravity due to its 66-degree off-axis tilted installation, stands at an impressive 27ft, and is the largest structure ever to be created from blown stainless steel.
The Halo ring actually utilises 330 panels of stainless steel, each individually inflated. The technique uses high-pressure air injected into two flat sheets of stainless steel, welded around all their edges. As the air is injected between the sheets, they inflate to form smooth and fluid three dimensional shapes.
The Halo ring is the inspiration and design work of local artist, Steve Newby, who created the sculpture to represent the industrial heritage of Gateshead, but with the circular shape depicting the cycle of regeneration and renewal. The sculpture comes alive even more at night when the integral fibre optic lighting system comes to life painting the ring in a variety of coloured light.
The ring was hand built by engineers from companies local to Gateshead, and with design, stress modelling simulations and physical testing input by Newcastle University, making the Halo a truly localised collaboration.
Steve Newby was keen to highlight the importance of the ring being a local project:
"It was really important to me that the construction took place here in Gateshead - it already feels like it is being born here and belongs here. This entire project is down to the work of skilled Gateshead craftsmen and it has set new standards in this particular field of engineering, which is a testament to the wonders we can do in this area."
We don’t inflate our Stainless Steel Vanity Tops… but they are beautifully sculptured!
Images copyright Halo