I can barely imagine how incredible it must be in person: You walk into an old, dark, deserted church to encounter a faintly glowing orb. You run your hands over it--maybe you just exhale while inspecting its surface--and the dome wilts away, revealing an almost divine light within.
This is Lotus Dome, an installation by Studio Roosegaarde, on display now at the vacant Sainte Marie Madeleine “Techno-Church” in Lille, France. It’s a collection of hundreds of flowers, obscuring a single source of light. And as visitors walk around, inspecting the sculpture, it will slowly react in their wake.
“The material we stole from NASA,” a spokesperson explains, referring to the impossibly delicate mylar sheets that open and close in reaction to light and heat. They’re technologically advanced components, but they’re part of a large, hand-assembled structure built in painstaking parallel to Renaissance craftsmanship. Lotus Dome is meant to be every bit as breathtaking as a meticulously honed marble sculpture, just materially updated by a few hundred years.
Daan Roosegaarde himself calls this effect “techno-poetry,” referring to the ability of technology to inspire a space. It’s definitely a trend on the rise. Interactive installations can enhance the architectural experience in ways old-world sculptors and painters could have never even imagined. But will our LEDs still burn as bright in a few hundred years as David’s chiseled contours in the faintest of light?
[Hat tip: The Creators Project]