What we know about the ‘Wings’ at The Address Boulevard

British sculptor Ben Barrell speaks to EDGAR about his white wings sculptor at the entrance of the Address Boulevard hotel.

Robert Chilton March 23, 2017

How did you achieve the shine on your sculpture?
We used the most expensive yacht paint which means there are no imperfections – it’s like the hull of a superyacht. My shapes are terribly simple and if they’re wrong they can look like a blob but this paint makes the lines look so crisp, you want to stroke it. It’s mesmerising. 

Do you have a background in boats?
When I finished art school I taught sailing to make money so that I could make sculptures. Eventually the sculpture took over from the sailing. All the shapes you see on boats are in this sculpture.

What material did you use?
I made a clay model 30cm tall at my workshop in Cornwall. Then I made a 7.5m tall, 600kg foam model using a dense, heavy foam used in boat building which I carved with a chainsaw to shape. Fibre glass is next, and then a resin over the top to create a super hard skin.

Does the piece have a name?
Not really. Wings, I think [laughs]. They’re all about purity, softness and whiteness.

Why did you choose the colour white?
Dubai is gigantic and aspirational; it’s the perfection of growth by the sea. That vastness of the blue and the sand, the scale of the hotel, meant the whiteness just seemed right. It’s going to stand in an infinity pool at the drop-off point of the hotel so I tried to think of the movement of people around it. 

How did you feel when the piece was finally in place?
Relief! Seeing the wings laid down in my dirty workshop is one thing, but seeing them standing up... I’ve been doing this for 20 years but this project in Dubai is by far the most exciting thing I’ve done.

theaddress.com/boulevard