city of design day twenty eight – sky whale

Wednesday, 23 November 2023


Designed by renowned Australian sculptor, Patricia Piccinini, and commissioned as part of Canberra’s centenary celebrations in 2013, the Skywhale air balloon is a fantastic example of public art intersecting with design.

Inspired by the planned nature of Canberra, Piccinini continued her practice of creating magical, impossible creatures and designed a creature that was a product of evolution gone very differently. Instead of swimming in the sea, Piccinini imagined creatures swimming in the air.

The final design of the Skywhale is influenced by the technical limitations balloon design. Wings for example, where unpractical, and the design needed to account for large amounts of gas in order to keep it airborne.

The balloon was built by UK company, Cameron Balloons, and is currently owned by Global Balloons.

Image: Skywhale in flight. Photo: Mark Chew via Sydney Morning Herald.

city of design day twenty eight - sky whale