A close up of the tip of the Grain of Rice installation

UK, London. On 3rd March 2015, two monumental cast bronze sculptures created by London-based Based Upon were unveiled to the public in Hong Kong and London.

The sculptures, entitled ‘A Grain of Rice’, are the creative studio’s first major public commissions after ten years of creating bespoke furniture, artworks and handmade decorative surfaces for some of the world’s most acclaimed superyachts. The larger sculpture stands at over 10m high on Queens Road Central, Hong Kong, while the second is almost six metres tall and is situated inside the HSBC building, Canada Square, London.

Led by Ian and Richard Abell, Based Upon were tasked to create a form that would resonate with both Eastern and Western cultures alike. Imposing and receptive, commanding and nurturing, the sculptures are at once masculine and feminine, embodying a harmony of yin and yang.


A Grain of Rice at night in front of HSBC on Queens Road Central, Hong Kong

Commissioned to celebrate HSBC’s 150th anniversary, the larger sculpture, weighing in excess of 12 tons, was created in China to Based Upon’s specifications, while the smaller one was made at the Pangolin foundry in the UK. From concept to completion, the sculptures took two years to complete.

“It’s a fairly unforgiving form that was made in 16 pieces and then fused together, so maintaining the lines required the best craftsmanship the foundry could deliver,” says Ian Abell of the smaller piece. “We spent a month researching HSBC’s archives to come up with ideas for a narrative tapestry that reflects the bank’s 150 years of history with images that are engraved onto the outer skin of the sculpture.”


A Grain of Rice inside HSBC in Canada Square, London

The creative team identified a solitary grain of rice as the starting point. This inspiration reflects the team’s fascination with natural forms and many of their superyacht commissions draw on abstract cracks and fissures using layered resins that mimic the colour and depth of the sea, or their iconic use of real butterflies set within metal under resin in immersive interior landscapes.

Based Upon have pioneered innovative processes that combine metals, resins and lacquers like paints to create a range of alloys and blends for bespoke surfaces that complement interior and exterior design schemes. While the surfaces have the quality of metal in the way they reflect light, patinate and wear, they are much lighter as they are only applied as a fine skin, providing the ideal solution for weight restrictions aboard a yacht.

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Based Upon Surfaces