The cast-bronze sculptures each represent a single grain of rice and stand proud at the head offices of the bank in its home markets of Hong Kong and London.
HSBC engaged the Cass Sculpture Foundation to help with the commemorative installation. The foundation is a UK charity which commissions large artworks. Cass asked a number of artists from the UK and China to provide design proposals and HSBC selected a Grain of Rice, proposed by Based Upon, who have been creating art and design for private customers since 2005.
The enormous form of the sculptures’ represent a solitary grain of rice; an example of an internationally-traded commodity. The exterior skin of each sculpture consists of 150 engraved images creating a narrative tapestry of HSBC’s 150 year history . The interior of each sculpture is hollow, with polished bronze lining which catches, absorbs and reflects the light.
The main challenges for lighting these vast sculptures was the restraints of where the actual lighting could be placed in very defined areas. As a result, a bespoke fixture was created, that owing to its remote and unusual positioning, provided the ideal lighting, yet kept the glare and fixture visibility to a minimum.
The main light for the 11 metre high sculpture comes from above. Four high output narrow beam LED projectors illuminate the exterior skin of the sculpture casting a strong shadow on the floor, therefore visually grounding the sculpture with the floor. The main light appears to come from nowhere as it is placed 40 meters above the ground attached to the external structure of the HSBC building. It emphasizes not only the upper part of the external bronze skin, but also the inner top edges of the sculpture. This top light draws the eye towards the upper part of the sculpture making one aware of its enormously vast height.
Two in-ground up-lights cast light onto the lower inner edges of the sculpture complementing the main light from above.
A bespoke recessed floor up-light sitting 6 meters away from the sculpture, shoots light onto the inner polished bronze area of the sculpture picking up the very top of the sculpture to highlight it.
The final lighting design, using unobtrusive light and invisible light sources, created a harmonious scheme that enabled Mindseye to do what it does best; putting the subject matter centre-stage whilst the light remains discreetly in the background.