The Land of Giants™ is a proposal designed by Choi+Shine Architects, LLC for Landsnet, Iceland. The idea, explains the firm, is to transform “mundane electrical pylons into statues on the Icelandic landscape.”
Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable. These iconic pylon-figures will become monuments in the landscape. Seeing the pylon-figures will become an unforgettable experience, elevating the towers to something more than merely a functional design of necessity.
This is a beautiful idea if ever there was one.
Here we have power lines—huge high-voltage cables traversing the landscape and delivering electricity to run the machinery and equipment on which the civilized world depends. And rather than the cables being supported by mere metal pylons, they are supported by massive, stylized likenesses of the men and women who create and deliver the electricity. This symbolism is akin to that of Atlas supporting the Earth, but it’s more specific. Rather than supporting the Earth, which, in the abstract, is a virtue almost no one would deny the importance of—these Giants are supporting the delivery mechanism of the most vital yet controversial product of the day: energy, which is generated primarily by burning fossil fuels.
As a friend said, “They remind me of the giants who discovered and delivered electricity: Ampère, Coulomb, Edison, Faraday, Hertz, Joule, Siemens, Tesla, Volta, Westinghouse and so many others.” I would add John D. Rockefeller, George P. Mitchell, and all the other pioneers who have developed means of extracting fossil fuels from the earth and converting them into products with which to create electricity. Heroes all.
And the “Land of Giants” project gets more interesting:
The pylon-figures can be configured to respond to their environment with appropriate gestures. As the carried electrical lines ascend a hill, the pylon-figures change posture, imitating a climbing person. Over long spans, the pylon-figure stretches to gain increased height, crouches for increased strength or strains under the weight of the wires. . . . Subtle alterations in the hands and head combined with repositioning of the main body parts in the x, y and z-axis, allow for a rich variety of expressions. The pylon-figures can be placed in pairs, walking in the same direction or opposite directions, glancing at each other as they pass by or kneeling respectively, head bowed at a town.
Although the Giants have not yet been built, they reportedly may soon be. According to Choi+Shine:
The Giants were almost built three times, but unfortunately for large civil project, there are many pieces of a project that have to all be approved at many levels. Currently we expect the Giants to be constructed in Iceland in 2017, but we are the designers of the project, and have little control of the construction or required approvals.
Thank you, Choi+Shine, for this bold and benevolent paean to human ability. And best success in your efforts to bring this idea to fruition in Iceland. Also, if I may make a request: Once you’ve implemented this idea in Iceland—and even if you’re unable to do so there—please replicate it in America. And then across the globe.
For those intrigued by this idea, visit Choi+Shine’s website for more information on the mechanics of these Giants along with several breathtakingly beautiful images and dynamic graphics.
As one commenter says, “The ‘Land of Giants’ is a poem for the eyes.” Here’s to it becoming a reality for the soul.