richard wilson: slipstream at heathrow international airport
richard wilson: slipstream at heathrow international airport
may 21, 2012

richard wilson: slipstream at heathrow international airport

‘slipstream’ by richard wilson RA, 2012 aluminum steel and rivets 76 meters long all images © the artist

richard wilson has developed ‘slipstream’, a gigantic public sculptural work set to be the longest permanent sculpture in europe to be installed in the central court of london’s heathrow terminal 2 by august of 2013. the piece, estimated to be the size of one A380 airbus airplane weighing seventy-seven tons, will seem to hover six to twenty meters above the ground of the bustling airport passage point, suspended from four roof support columns. ‘slipstream’ is comprised of 1.1 kilometer of 1.5 meter aluminum roll, equaling 1,650 square meters. the twisted shape of the massive artwork takes its form from the zivko edge 540 flown by world champion air racer british pilot paul bonhomme.

‘imagine filling the vast void of the central court of heathrow terminal 2 with clay. now imagine a stunt plane moving through this mass of clay, somersaulting, spiralling, twisting and climbing. the spinning plane would create a void to be filled with fast setting plaster. when hard, imagine the hall is excavated of all clay to leave a suspended plaster form. imagine what this solid but fluid shape of the movement of the plane through space could look like built from, steel, wood and aluminium!‘ -richard wilson

the sculpture was selected as the winning design of many submitted to futurecity’s international competition.

richard wilson: slipstream at heathrow international airport ‘slipstream’ weighs 77 tones and will be recognized as the longest permanent sculpture in europe

richard wilson: slipstream at heathrow international airport detailed perspectives of the two ends of the massive metal sculpture

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
503,285 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine