‘Rebound Symmetry’ tennis ball installation

Artist Henry Day, a recent graduate from Wimbledon College of Arts has designed the tennis-based installation hanging above The Piazza, named ‘Rebound Symmetry’ to celebrate the town centre’s relationship with Wimbledon Tennis. 

This specially commissioned sculpture has been created out of Slazenger tennis balls and mirrored ‘tennis courts’, developing geometric forms reducing it to a minimal pattern. Kindly sponsored by Slazenger and supported by The All England Lawn Tennis Club, the sculpture will hang over The Piazza for the entire tennis fortnight.

This installation is a shape called an icosahedron, one of the five ‘platonic solids’. The only 5 shapes that can physically exist with perfect symmetry – all edges, faces and angles are identical.  The tennis ball is made from two flat pieces of fabric covering a rubber ball, these pieces of fabric are the only shape that can physically wrap tightly around a sphere – in mathematical terms known as the ‘hyperbolic paraboloid’, a curve within a curve that can also be found in the shape of Pringles crisps! There are 350 tennis balls in the sculpture, weighing a total of 20kg, all manipulated by hand.

When asked about creating the installation, Henry commented “I remember last year, around the time of my degree show, seeing numerous large tennis balls hung up and integrated around town for Wimbledon tennis. I had just finished using thousands of dice to make my final sculpture for my degree, I remember thinking to myself ‘I wonder what I could do with a load of tennis balls?’. It was a very strange and exciting coincidence to have been approached by Love Wimbledon for this project.”

“One of the most interesting aspects about using mirrors is that they cannot be shown in sketches, the full effect of the reflecting illusions only becomes apparent upon completion.”

Henry has exhibited numerous sculptures around Wimbledon since graduating Wimbledon College of Art last July, and has also been shortlisted for three competitions. His first large scale commission was the result of winning of a competition, producing two kinetic sculptures – currently on display nearby at the Nelson Health Centre. Henry is currently working on new sculptures of his own, as well as working in workshops that fabricate bespoke designs, which get sent all over the world. He hopes to use this experience to realise more ambitious projects of his own in the future.

Visit The Piazza to see the installation for yourself and read more about how it was made on the information boards. See more of Henry’s work at henryday.net