Chiaroscuro Suspended Artwork

Norton Street, Leichardt

Chiaroscuro is an Italian term that translates as ‘light dark.’ Rising to prominence in the time of the Renaissance, it refers to the strong contrasts used in visual artwork to create a dramatic effect.

It is also the name given to a colourful suspended artwork commissioned by the Inner West Council for Norton Street in Leichardt, created by artists Alessandra Rossi and Adam Cruikshank.

Tensile was engaged to design the support cable structure, supply the cables, and install the artwork.

While we have done suspended artwork projects before, this one certainly turned out to be interesting and unique!

About Chiaroscuro

The installation consists of a series of colourful light cells suspended over the street, designed to pay homage to the migration of Italians to Leichardt during the 1950s and 60s.

Each cell contains reflective coloured panels that interact with the surrounding environment. The interconnectedness of the cells represents the idea of ‘chain migration’ – where migrants would follow each other to a new land. At the same time, every cell is unique to reflect the individuality of each Italian migrant.

In their statement, the artists said they included references to stained glass in the geometric forms, and aimed to incorporate a sense of fun, colour, and movement into the work.

Now that the installation is complete, the Council has called upon Italian migrants to share their stories of chain migration to Leichardt in the 50s and 60s. These stories will become part of the community’s history, adding an extra level of human dimension to the project!

Tensile’s work

We used 6mm and 8mm stainless steel cables from Jakob Rope Systems to suspend the artwork above the street.

The artwork weighs in at over 2 tonnes, so it had to be lifted in stages. The task involved careful lifting of some very heavy pieces – the largest being 9.5m x 3m and weighing in at 850kg! We also had to work at night to minimise disruptions to traffic in this busy part of town.

It was a complicated installation, but we were able to refine the connections and details of the cables. We also provided bespoke components from the Jakob Rope collection to facilitate an efficient installation.

While it had its challenges, we enjoyed working on this project. In fact, this is exactly the type of project we always enjoy – where we get to design and install customised solutions for our clients, and to work collaboratively as part of a team to achieve a fantastic outcome.

We think the stunning result speaks for itself! See more of our work here.

Selected Clients