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Cancer Research UK launches DNA-inspired art trail across London to raise funds for Francis Crick Institute

Cancer Research UK has collaborated with SomeOne to launch a DNA-inspired art trail across London to raise awareness and funds for the Francis Crick Institute, due to open in 2016.

At total of 21 sculptures, customised by leading artists, designers and sculptors including Ai WeiWei, Orla Kiely and Chris and Xand van Tulleken, will be placed around London for 10 weeks before being auctioned off at Christie’s in September.

Challenged with creating the base helix design for each of the sculptures before the artists created their unique designs, co-founder and executive creative director at SomeOne, Simon Manchipp, said of the project: “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.”

Max Longstaff, SomeOne’s lead designer on the project, 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 these incredible natural designs onto a series of rapid prototype 3D prints – ranging from the literal to the lateral.”

When it opens in 2016, the Crick will see more than 1,200 scientists coming together under one roof to accelerate the rate of progress tackling major diseases such as cancer. The centre is a collaboration between six of the world’s leading media research organisations, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, Imperial College London, King’s College London and UCL (University College London).

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