Mamma Mia!

Emma Hart for Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia and Whitechapel Gallery, London

In the early stages of planning her exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, Max Mara Art Prize winner Emma Hart asked us to fabricate bespoke fittings for eleven large-scale ceramic heads and mechanised components for four sets of rotating blades. In the final installation, these blades cut across the light cast from each ceramic – throwing dramatic shadows across the floor and walls of the space. 

'Mamma Mia!' installed at the Whitechapel Gallery. Images: Thierry Bal

Working from the artist’s sketches, we developed prototypes for the mechanised blades. The chosen silhouettes were programmed in-house and cut on our CNC router, before each blade was then folded and hand-finished in our metal workshop.

Machining the aluminium blades on our CNC router

The ceramics – which were made by the artist during her residency in Faenza, Italy – were delivered to our studio where we worked on the integration of light fittings, and developed the fixings for ceiling mounting. To test the integrity of the ceramic objects each one was attached to a pulley system and suspended for 24 hours. In consultation with the artist, a network of ropes and pulleys became the final installation methodology for the exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery.


The fulfil the artist’s specification of blades rotating at slow RPM with variable speed, motors were sourced and programmed in-house. Our team also designed and constructed bespoke housing for each motor using laser cut aluminium parts.

Programming the motors in our studio

In the final installation the blades rotated at different speeds to cast moving shadows

 Image: Thierry Bal

Image: Thierry Bal