Design

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DNA brought to life in London

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A trail of 7 foot tall DNA-shaped sculptures is being scattered across London over the Summer to raise awareness and money for a new Cancer Research UK research centre. The campaign has been spearheaded by design consultancy SomeOne, who designed and created a number of bespoke DNA-shaped 3D structures and asked various artists to decorate unique 2D designs for them.

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The designs all had to answer the question “What's in your DNA?” 21 Sculptures in the shape of a DNA double helix were created, with the models to eventually be auctioned off to raise money for the new biomedical research and innovation centre; the “Francis Crack Institute,” which is set to open in 2016. The molecular construction of the DNA strands has been smoothed to provide larger surface areas for the artists to create their interpretations. Commissioned artists include Ai WeiWei, Thierry Noir, Zaha Hadid, Orla Kiely, Jane Morgan and Chris and Xand van Tulleken.

7 foot tall DNA-shaped sculptures are being scattered across London to raise awareness and money for a new Cancer Research UK research centre

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Simon Manchipp, co-founder and executive creative director of SomeOne, explains how the idea evolved. He said: “Francis Crick was an astonishing scientist, and is best known for his work with James Watson which led to the discovery of DNA in 1953. When working to develop a series of sculptures to be customised by some of the world’s leading creatives we considered many different kinds of form, but we kept on coming back to the DNA spiral. The outcome is accurately based on the DNA structure, in fact we clothed the molecular construction to develop larger surface areas that would be more adept at taking on the artists’ ideas.”

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Max Longstaff, lead designer at SomeOne, added: “We were briefed by scientists who helped explain the complexities and subtleties of the DNA structure. The human body is made up of trillions of cells. Each one of these is packed with long, delicate strands of DNA which provides the hardwired operating instructions (or genes) for everything that cell will ever need to do. We translated the incredible, natural designs of strands of DNA into a series of rapid prototype 3D prints, ranging from the more literal to the lateral.”

The trail, created by SomeOne, will be live for 10 weeks, before being auctioned in September at Christie’s Auctions and Private Sales

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The installation trail will be live for 10 weeks, before being auctioned in September at Christie’s Auctions and Private Sales. Cancer Research UK has pledged to raise £100million to install the building, which is named after the scientist who discovered the DNA double helix in 1953 alongside fellow scientist James Watson.

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The Francis Crick Institute will work to tackle major diseases, and is a collaboration between Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, Imperial College London, King’s College London and University College London. When it opens in 2016, the Crick will see more than 1,200 scientists coming under one roof to accelerate the rate of progress in tackling the major diseases, such as cancer, facing the global population.

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