In Harmony With Nature: Francis Benincà’s Environmental Sculptures

July 14, 2015 by

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You might say that French sculptor Francis Benincà was ahead of the curve. As a teenager Benincà worked alongside his father building sculptural “bubble houses” which strongly influenced the designs of the environmental sculptures Benincà creates today. 

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His father, Antonio Benincà, is known for very unusual houses built of curvilinear concrete shells formed over organic-shaped internal frames.

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antonio-beninca-bubble-house-2-urbangardensweb Antonio Benincà’s “bubble houses.” Photos via Antonio Benincà.

Like the houses he and his father built, Benincà’s lofty outdoor forms blend harmoniously into the landscape. They aren’t simply sculptures on display, but works which incorporate the surrounding environment, integrating the vegetation along with the ambient light and shadows cast at various periods of the day.

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Benincà constructs his forms with steel rebar, typically used to fortify, hold, and distribute the load of reinforced concrete and masonry structures.

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Conceived to host climbing vegetation, Francis Benincà’s environmental sculptures invite plants to weave their vines and tendrils through the open shape and bloom freely in and around its interwoven steel lines.

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Like freeform arbors and pergolas, Benincà’s airy works rely on their sinuous lines for strength. They are at the same time imposing yet light, their purpose defined by whomever is interacting with them.

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The works are in parks, public spaces and private gardens, where they function as open shelters for events as well as intimate spaces offering shade and refuge.

francis-beninca-standing-by-his-work_urbangardensweb Francis Benincà in his milieu. Photo via the artist.

Benincà describes his approach as “just like nature,” envisioning his sculptural forms like a leaves, petals, or waves. It’s a nice twist on Mother Nature.

Photos via Francis and Antonio Benincà.

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