Artist Name(s) Alex Pentek
Artwork title Unfurl
Context/Background Unfurl (2014) was designed by past pupil Alex Pentek, and commissioned under the Per Cent for Art scheme that arose out of the construction of a new building for Ashton School, Blackrock in Co. Cork, which was completed in August 2014.

Based on an origami-fold pattern, Unfurl (2014) was fabricated using a series of perforated 3mm bronze sheets, which were cut and folded into a parabolic curved surface following the plan of a Fibonacci spiral. The folded surface has 80,000 perforations and is reinforced at the edges with 70mm phosphor bronze piping. It contains over half a kilometre of TIG welds, which were fabricated, bead-blasted and then sealed. The work, which measures 4x3x2m, is chemically anchored to a concrete base and is lit at night with 3 LED outdoor spotlights. This lighting serves to highlight the folded surface, creating an interactive sculpture that allows people to stand inside the work.

Artistic concept:

My idea for Ashton School was formed out of a site-specific response to the location on mature grounds, and the relationship between the new and old school buildings. As I aimed to link the new building with the surrounding landscaping, I also aimed to visually link the subjects of art, maths science and nature.The image of a leaf or flower came from my discovery that the original old building was once a leaf covered Georgian family home.”


Alex Pentek was born in Bantry, Co. Cork in 1973. He graduated from Crawford College of Art and Design as Cork Arts Society Student of the Year in 1996. Since then he has created over 20 large-scale, site-specific, permanent public artworks in Ireland and Canada. His long-standing interest in origami and music have informed his sculptural work, which he creates for public and private commissions in his studio at Rathpeacon in Co. Cork, and in numerous artists’ residencies. He also has extensive experience in teaching and facilitating workshops.

While Pentek mainly focuses on creating large-scale permanent sculptures, he also displays work in galleries, which allows him to explore temporary mediums such as paper and sound performance. His work has featured in solo exhibitions and group shows including Gravity, at the Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, Ireland in 2011 and representing Ireland in An Other Place, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia in 2007.

Commission Type Schools/Colleges
Commissioner Name Ashton School, Backrock, Co. Cork
Commissioning process A panel of invited artists from Ireland and the U.K was assembled. Following a two-stage competition, ‘Unfurl’ was chosen by the selection panel.
Project commission dates January 1, 2013 - May 30, 2014
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Department of Education and Skills
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 01/01/2013
Project commission end date 30/05/2014
Location Ashton School
County Cork
Town Blackrock
Street Address Blackrock Road
Website alexpentek.com/studio/
Content contributor(s) Web Editor and Alex Pentek
Associated professionals / Specialists involved
  • Adrian Landen – Principal, Ashton School, Blackrock, Co. Cork
  • Peter Murray, Director, Crawford Art Gallery – Selection Panel Member
  • Philip Fox, NMA Architects – Project Architect.
  • Conor Coburn, CONSTRUCT Ltd. Cork – Consultant Structural Engineer
  • Graepel Perforators & Weavers Ltd. Kinsale, Co. Cork – Perforations and CNC punching
  • Duggan Construction – Project Contractor (Foundations and lighting installation)
  • Philip Cronin – Transportation and planning



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