August 19, 2019

First of Its Kind, Life-size Titan Class Robot Unveils Tuesday in Somerville

Press Release


Heroic, Powerful Female Icon ‘Dyanna’ by Local Sculptor Debuts at Somernova.

SOMERVILLE, MA. August 19, 2019 Rafi Properties, LLC (Rafi), owner and operator of Somernova, today announces details of ‘ Dyanna,’ a 650-lbs. life-size Astrobot, designed and built by local Somerville sculptor, Kirk Tegelaar, more commonly known as ‘Skunk’, of Skunkadeli. Fabricated at non-profit maker space, Artisan’s Asylum, Dyanna is a 6FT titan class robot made by welding together repurposed steel and old machine parts creating a heroic, powerful yet endearing female figure.

“Somernova is a platform for entrepreneurs to create and be bold. The consistent drive to innovate and break the mold is an integral part of entrepreneurship. In order to foster creativity, people need environments that encourage experiment and testing,’ said Collin Yip, Managing Partner of Rafi Properties. ‘Dyanna is a symbol of Somernova’s spirit and culture – a place for fearless self-expression and exploration.’

Rafi Properties, owner of Somernova, commissioned Skunk to create an outdoor sculpture to represent the spirit of the Somerville campus. Comprised of objects such as a steel scuba tank for the cranium, MBTA garage door springs for legs and a swivel ball from a 1962 Land Rover Station wagon for the jaw, Dyanna is the largest Astrobot built to date by the sculptor. The female sculpture will be installed at the entrance of the innovation hub’s courtyard on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at 6pm at Somernova (12 Tyler Street, Somerville, MA).

‘The notion of creating an object that has the potential to endure and influence other minds for hundreds of years is particularly resonant with me. It is my job as a sculptor to create a figure that expresses the positive aspects of humanity,’ said Skunk. “Working with Collin Yip has reminded me that an artist needs to stretch outside their comfort zone if they are to create something remarkable.”

Rooted in the neighborly vibe of Somerville’s Union Square neighborhood, the Somernova campus sprawls over 7.4 acres and is comprised of 300,000 SF of commercial and industrial space. A culture crafted by a unique tenant mix from 3D printing (Voxel8) and nanotechnology (N12 Technologies), urban rock climbing (Brooklyn Boulders), the largest clean-tech startup incubator in U.S. (Greentown Labs), a non-profit maker-space (Artisan’s Asylum), a brewery (Aeronaut), and more. Since its inception, this entrepreneurial epicenter has been known as a place where people iterate ideas and test the boundaries of what is possible.

‘Dyanna’ is the first of multiple artistic and experiential collaborations planned for the Somernova campus, details of additional collaborations to follow. For more information, please visit or follow @somernova on Instagram.

Dyanna was fabricated with the following parts: Four CNC tool holders , scuba tank, vintage motorcycle tank, antique truck swivel ball joint, two Bridgeport handle wheels, two tool holders, acme threaded rod, axe heads, railroad spikes, bolts, bicycles, MBTA garage springs, antique wrenches, antique lathe belt gear, two lathe chucks, two beam connectors, two spindles, steel tubing, motorcycle clutch plate, large gears, nuts, washers & bronze.


About Rafi Properties, LLC

Rafi Properties, LLC (Rafi) owns, develops, manages and invests in mixed-use residential and commercial real estate in Boston and Hong Kong. The firm focuses on identifying value-add opportunities in transit-oriented, urban core locations. A fully integrated investment and management firm, Rafi Properties creates value by appealing to a creative and innovative class through design, construction, branding, and place making that result in the construction of properties that activate and promote the local community. People are the focal point of Rafi’s culture and it extends into the way they add-value to investments. Doing the right thing to improve and promote the community in which they invest in has been a critical part of their growth. For more information, please visit


About Skunk

Somerville Massachusetts artist Kirk Tegelaar, more commonly known as Skunk, has been creating whimsy from steel scraps since 1996, beginning with founding of the sci-fi fueled, friendly bicycle chopper gang SCUL, then evolving his family of endearing and emotional Astrobots. With a very strong background and passion for art since he was a kid in Maine, he learned to be ‘one with the metal’ at Seven Cycles, machining, welding, and finishing custom titanium, steel, and Ti/Carbon bicycle frames. In 2005 he left production to become the in-house graphic designer for Seven. Skunk is a proud and happy member of the Artisan’s Asylum maker space community, where he’s been teaching a challenging and rewarding monthly TIG welding class since the Asylum was founded in 2010. He runs a studio showroom for anyone to visit during Asylum tours as well as with the artist by appointment.


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