Daliowa Island is the smallest of over a dozen islands in Wrocław, Poland, and it is situated on the Odra River. It is surrounded by lush greenery and historic architecture. Sounds idyllic, but in recent years, it had lost its appeal for the public. So, the city invited Polish designer Oskar Zieta to build a sculpture that would help reinvigorate the site, giving it back to citizens as a desirable place for meetings, artistic events and open-air concerts.
The designer responded with Nawa, an eye-grabbing gateway comprised of 35 steel archways sandwiched into a massive wave-like form. Its hyper-polished surface constantly changes through the day and seasons, creating amazing games of light as it reflects the surrounding water and stone work.
Zieta is best known for Plopp, a three-legged stool that uses FIDU technology, a metal process he invented in 2005 that involves pressing two pieces of metal together, welding them along the edges and inflating the space between them using compressed air. The resulting effect is almost comical – a product that looks so light it might float away but is actually structurally durable enough to sit on.
The success of Plopp, which remains a wildly popular product, has led Zieta to explore the potential of FIDU technology in other types of furniture, including mirrors, tables, chairs and coatracks. His international success has also helped bring attention to Poland’s burgeoning creative design scene, which Azure contributing editor Elizabeth Pagliacolo explores in the current issue.
Zieta has employed his signature technique with Nawa, but at a much larger scale. In fact, it is the largest of its kind yet, with the highest point of the gateway reaching seven metres.
Built in a former shipyard, each arch was cut, welded and blown with air before being shipped to the island on three barges. The entire structure uses 52 tonnes of steel and the combined length of the arches totals two kilometres.
Officially opened in June, 2017, the city plans to surround Nawa this summer with 7,500 new plantings.