The Needle of Icarus

by Vicke Lindstrand

One of the most extraordinary and most striking works of art, a monumental glass sculpture by Vicke Lindstrand, has been on permanent display on the Vaihingen campus of the University of Stuttgart since 1964.

The sculpture, made of wound green glass, is nine meters high and was fabricated using one thousand, 8 mm-thick glass panels. Tapered at the top, the sculpture alone weighs 9 tons — including the fully anchored pedestal, it weighs 24 tons! The glass was produced at the Emmaboda Glassworks located in the Småland province in southern Sweden.

DSwedish glass designer, Victor Emanuel Lindstrand, known as Vicke Lindstrand, was born in Gothenburg on 27. November 1904. Driven by his passion for the arts, Lindstrand began his career as a glass designer at the glassworks in Orrefors in 1928. A pioneer in the art glass world, he was especially fond of using glass as a highly adaptable material.

From 1942-1950, he spent his time as a “creative leader” in Uppsala Ekeby and dedicated himself to designing various stone objects. It was there that Lindstrand agreed to abstain from working with glass for a ten-year period when he resigned his position at the glass works.

However, in 1950, Lindstrand was hired as the art director at the Kosta Glassworks and immediately began working with glass again.

Lindstrand came to Germany through his dealings with glass merchants in Hamburg as well as to experiment with new techniques and stress tests on glass composites at the Technical University of Stuttgart (now University of Stuttgart). Additionally, the ability of glass sculptures to withstand various gale force winds and other outside forces were also tested.

In 1964, Vicke Lindstrand celebrated his 60th birthday and the dedication of his monumental glass sculpture Ikarus-Nadel in Stuttgart-Vaihingen.

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