Inspiring design


Isis in Hyde Park


Simon Gudgeon, whose “Isis” sculpture was unveiled in Hyde Park by Halcyon Gallery and the Royal Parks Foundation in September, will use SolidWorks to model and SolidWorks Simulation software to validate kinetic sculpture designs for clients before he sculpts them from metal.


Kinetic sculptures move with the wind, like mobiles, and often include individual pieces that move simultaneously. The SolidWorks software enables Gudgeon to test a kinetic statue’s balance and material properties while he’s designing it. He can also use it to design the mechanisms of bars, bearings and counterweights that make the sculptures move, and test it for problems such as interference and collisions.

Although CAD software is most often used for product and building design, Gudgeon sees it as a useful tool for artistic pursuits as well. For most of his career, Gudgeon specialized in still statues of water birds, like “Isis.” Moving into kinetics, Gudgeon realized he had a new set of considerations to weigh, and needed new tools to help him.

I’m not a classically trained sculptor, I’m self taught, and I’m always looking at new methods and technologies,” Gudgeon said. “I’ve often looked to the auto industry for ideas because they use clay and sculpture to model cars. One of my contacts in the auto industry suggested computer-aided design software and recommended SolidWorks because it has useful features and it’s easy to use. I tried it and liked it. I can use it to create a shape, then perfect its balance and design the below-ground mechanisms. It’s very intuitive, and comes with very good manuals and tutorials for learning new skills.”

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Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.