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1986 Early Edition Helix Sundial by Piet Hein for Helios, Denmark

Documentation Ample Provenance
Origin Denmark
Period 1980-1999
W. 31.5 in; H. 78.74 in; D. 31.5 in;
W. 80 cm; H. 200 cm; D. 80 cm;
Condition Good.
Creation Date 1986
Description Rare early edition Helix Sundial designed by Piet Hein for Helios in Denmark, 1986.

Piet Hein designed the sundial in 1986 for the park at Egeskov Castle in Denmark. The unique feature of this sundial is that the shadow-caster and the shadow-catcher have been combined into one unit: a spiral-shaped band (helix) that throws a shadow on itself – a construction that is unique in the 3000-4000 years that man has been making sundials. The dots on the spiral are used as markings to tell the time based on where the shadow line is. This is one of the first of these sundials that was produced, marked number 10 (0010).

In good original condition with minor wear consistent with age and use, preserving a wonderful patina.

Piet Hein has expressed himself throughout his life both as an artist and a scientist. He has been called a universalist. In that way a spiritual affinity existed between him and the Renaissance ideal – a modern variant of Leonardo da Vinci. However, contrary to the historical ideals, in Piet Hein’s works is found an easily recognizable element whether it is a matter of scientific publications, essays, poetry or architecture. The special Piet Hein touch is the superiority of the form in relation to the objectives, the medium and – for that matter – the contents. Piet Hein’s world is almost the epitome of design. His recognisable style of language and material turns design into art. Piet Hein decided to find an absolutely harmonic physical design. With mathematical intuition he first found the form and then explained it afterwards. His superellipse was to solve the double contrast between the circle and the square and that of the ellipse and the rectangle. Within furniture design the superellipse also became the solution to various problems – especially in relation to Piet Hein’s design of tabletops the superellipse became popular.
In a three-dimensional version the superellipse became the superegg which has been used for metal versions of various board games, superegg drink coolers and the anti-stress ball.
Especially the latter reached an enormous distribution in the 1970s. In addition to his work with the development of the superellipse Piet Hein has executed a great many other design commissions, from board games in wood to the elegant Sinus lamp.
Piet Hein is among the Danes which have received the most awards in the twentieth century. In Denmark he has received the Aarestrup-medal ( 1969), the Industrial Design-prize (1971), the Storm Petersen-prize (1978), the Medal Ingenio et Arti (1985), the annual prize of Danish Design Council (1989) and the Tietgen Medal (1990) as well as honorary memberships of the Students’ Association (1970), the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society (1978), Det Danske Broderskab (the Danish Guild) (1978).
Styles / Movements Modern, Scandinavian Modern
Dealer Reference Number MI7993
Incollect Reference Number 272966
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