Sculptures are often some of my favorite photographic subjects. The Paternoster Vents in London are both sculptural and functional…even better, right!?
Heatherwick Studios is the architect behind the design of this cooling system that emerges from the underground electricity substation into a small, and new at the time, public square. Given the small space, they worked to minimize the size of this cooling system by creating flush steel grilles for the cooling inlets. The interesting part of this space, at least from a photography perspective, are the warm air vents.
They’re comprised of two towers that have an origami-like feel. Mirror images of each other, the final structures are made up of 63 stainless steel, identical isosceles triangles. A design idea Heatherwick came up with as a student by folding a single piece of paper into those many identical isosceles triangles.
The surface is glass-bead-blasted to give it a softer feel. Given the many angles, the light catches on its surface differently depending on where you’re standing and the relation of the structure to light. Despite it being made of stainless steel, the images have a look and feel more like concrete.
I like both the color and black & white versions. I know, big surprise. The colors are still monochromatic in their blue tones, which I amplified a bit from the blue of the sky reflecting on the surface.


If London looks like fun to photograph, consider joining Michael and me for a workshop there next spring. You can get all the details here through Photography Unfolded!



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