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View of the display. Credit: Arup; View of the display. Credit: Arup;

Walk of Ideas, Berlin

A series of sculptures celebrating Germany's history of innovation

This series of sculptures was part of a programme to demonstrate Germany‘s history of innovation, and was displayed when the country hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Each sculpture symbolises the richness of ideas and inventiveness which characterises Germany‘s scientists and engineers.

The first sculpture, a 12m-long, 20t ‘Modern Football Shoe’ was launched on 10 March 2006. Others included Theory of Relativity, Medical Milestones, The Automobile, Modern Printing and Musical Masterpieces.

Arup was instrumental in the project through materials consultingstructural engineering and facade design. After considerable research, the firm arrived at an innovative materials concept.

Up to 26 separate elements were manufactured for each sculpture. Computer-controlled sculpting techniques were used to cut foam blocks into shape, to coat them with reinforced plastic and for final finishing. The façade elements were then mounted onto 3D steel frames. 

This process, also adopted by Arup’s vehicle design group and others in the automotive industry, represents an alternative to the bronze pouring and hand modelling techniques traditionally used for sculptures of this size. 

By reworking and optimising the building process to suit each sculpture, each final solution was effective and unique.