Design Alabama
Design Alabama


Industrial Design Creating Community- A Linear Example


Like other design disciplines, industrial design can help develop and define a community. A dynamic example is “Linear Motion,” a moving sculpture that helps to not only define the McWane Science Center but its Birmingham surroundings.

The robotically controlled sculpture – said to be the largest in the world – was created by industrial designer Lloyd Cooper of PUSH Product Design in Birmingham. The interactive installation is a focal point of the McWane Science Center Plaza and a key element in bringing people together in downtown Birmingham.

“Linear Motion” combines art, science, mathematics and mechanics to allow people to perceive the neighboring space in new ways. The entire structure is suspended over the plaza. Five cantilevered I-beams are anchored directly to the reinforced concrete buttresses that support the adjacent multi-use building.

“It reflects both the visual landscape surrounding it and the creativity of those who interact with it, and adds visual interest to the public plaza,” explains Cooper. “It’s an opportunity to apply industrial design from a user’s perspective.”

It is not a passive form of public art, but one that promotes engagement and inclusiveness. The sculpture’s robotic pendulums can be set in motion not only by McWane visitors, but anyone passing by who wishes to take part. (Click here to see “Linear Motion” in Action


Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Image of “Linear Motion” Sketch /Video Courtesy of PUSH Product Design


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