AN INTERVIEW WITH CARL ROBERTSHAW

Authors: 
Martin Lester
Article type: 
Discourse

ML: HOW DID YOU INITIALLY MEET HEATHER AND IVAN MORISON?

CR: I was contacted by Ivan Morison in September of 2008. He also contacted Cameron Balloons. He was looking into the feasibility of flying either a hot air balloon or large kite, shaped like a meteor, that could be flown over the city for the Venice Biennale.

WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THEIR IDEAS THAT MADE YOU WANT TO COLLABORATE?

I’m fascinated by opposites and contradictions – an object that appeared to have great mass, yet floats in air. This has a real attraction for me. After discussing ideas, materials, and sizes, I set about getting my head around how this could be achieved. It was a puzzle and a challenge – a good place to start. If it hasn’t been done before, that either means it’s a stupid idea or a really good one! This was an opportunity for the studio to explore a theme that we had been talking about for a couple of years: making a kite that is not pretty and should challenge the normal perception of kites. Too many kites are “cute,” garish, or cartoon-like – this meteor would oppose those preconceptions. The facets in mineral stones are like the facets of the F117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft. The kite would have surfaces like this that confuse and disguise the symmetry of the structure.

HAS YOUR COLLABORATION LED TO ANY INSPIRATIONS IN YOUR OWN KITE MAKING?

The kites and structures we make all follow a simple concept. This concept transcends many industries, so we are able to work with many inspiring people and projects. We don’t make many kites, but we stay close to the idea that everything should use the same structural language as kites and should draw closely on the experiential aspects of kites and the kite world. Kite Related Design (KRD) were commissioned for this approach and the work shows how strong the concept is.

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