During the week leading up to Adelaide Fringe, 1400 kilograms of steel appeared along the city’s main shopping drag.

Not since the 1977 installation of Bert Flugelman’s The Spheres (aka the Mall’s Balls) have giant shapes captured the imagination of snap-happy passers by.

The project, called HYBYCOZO (Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone, nicked from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), is the work of San Francisco’s Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu. Their five, steel sculptures were digitally designed and laser cut near the pair’s home in California.

The couple quit successful Silicon Valley jobs to create science-inspired art. “I was working at Google for music labels, helping musicians get paid for their music on YouTube,” Filipchuk says. She’d also spent years studying natural geometric patterns and bio-mimicry.

Beaulieu was working as an industrial designer, including a stint at Yves Béhar's branding firm, fuseproject. “We wanted to do something different but never expected we’d end up doing this full-time,” Filipchuk says.

A Kickstarter campaign funded their first sculptures, which appeared at 2014’s Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. “People tell us they fell in love near our sculptures,” Filipchuk says. “People got married next to them at Burning Man.”

In their Australian debut, LED lights cast shadows across the mall at night. A small cluster of wooden shapes are suspended above James Place.

“This installation is particularly special because usually it’s a ticketed event or the sculptures are behind a wall,” Beaulieu says. “To see all these different types of people walking by and looking at them and examining them is great… even the drunk people late at night.”

Until March 14.

Rundle Mall, CBD