Inspired by the “wiring” of organic creatures, Jason Krugman’s Capella Basket sculpture uses a new electrical medium to rout energy through space. The sculpture is a centrepiece for Capella Tower, a class A office tower in downtown Minneapolis. From its hang-point 70-ft in the air, the artwork floats centrally in the large glass-walled atrium. Viewers are able to get a 270 degree view from the mezzanine and peer straight up and through from the floor below.

Although massive in its dimensions of 22’ x 22’ x 17’, the artwork is mostly empty space. Its primarily constructed from fiberglass circuit boards designed around a patented three-layer circuit connector. This unique circuit system uses concentric circles of gold-plated copper pressed against one another to create stable, multi-faceted electrical connections. Over ten thousand boards are connected to form one, giant, electrical circuit. Low voltage power flows through the sculpture’s surface to the main attraction: 2000 custom 2” LED lights Krugman designed specifically for this project. The intricate grid of lights describes a rolling toroidal form that transitions from a flat surface at its lowest point to a full tube at its top.

To create the sculpture’s unique shape a rectangular sheet of circuit boards was meticulously assembled into a 1000-square-foot mesh using small hand tools. The mesh was then carefully mounted onto a minimal aluminium frame, much like the hull of a ship. The resulting shape resembles a diatomaceous skeleton or a roiling smoke ring. During assembly, Krugman’s team developed a technique for viewing the sculpture with a thermal camera to locate and eliminate any short-circuits caused by misplaced or damaged circuit boards.

Capella Basket is a 10-times scale version of an original 2ft-diameter Basket sculpture the artist developed in 2009. Krugman has been exploring electrical meshes and novel building techniques since. Nearly every project presents fascinating electrical and geometric problems. Often, the solution involves inventing new tools and jigs to insure everything lines up and elegantly connects. His ongoing goal is to allow the multitude of lights to float softly in space, describing a form but without the distraction heavy structure or obtrusive wiring. Like much of Krugman’s body of work, the medium is as much the artwork as its final form. Taking artistic cues from natural forms provides Krugman’s work with a unity of design rooted in the minimalist efficiency of natural objects.

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