24 October 2012

Lotus Dome – Roosegaarde’s Aluminum Masterpiece

Ever heard of smart flowers? Neither had we until we came across Dutch artist Daan Roosergaarde’s astonishing installation, Lotus Dome. It is almost a close encounter of the third kind – an alien looking cupola, created from hundreds of ultra-light aluminium flowers. When it is approached something magical happens.

The dome lights up and the flowers open with a gentle metallic rustle. When one person interacts with the Lotus dome then its behaviour is gentle and almost inaudible. However when surrounded by a group of people it becomes much more vibrant. Light and shadow play together around the Lotus Dome to stunning effect.

The chosen venue for the Lotus Dome is, perhaps, unusual, but when you watch the video below you will see that the centuries old atmosphere of Sainte Marie Madeleine Church in Lille, France, perfectly complements the space age characteristics of Roosegaarde’s art. The Renaissance setting is reinvigorated, as it were, in to a modern day techno-temple.

It is the mystery of the piece, almost like a found object, which attracts me. Of course the fact that it looks as if it has just stepped out of a science fiction film about first contact with an alien race helps a little too. It looks so very delicate yet almost bewilderingly sentient. What is it, and whence does it come?

This striking installation was commissioned by the city of Lille for its 2012 FANTASTIC experience, created for the denizens of this beautiful and historic Flanders town but attracting many a visitor too. You can see Lotus Dome free, gratis until the middle of January next year.

If you cannot make it in person, enjoy the pictures. Perhaps, too, watch the video below. The moving image catches the mystery and alien quality of Lotus Dome as much as the photographs.

All pictures courtesy of Studio Roosegarde, the social design lab of artist Daan Roosegaarde. Please visit the website to see the extraordinary breadth of Roosegarde’s vision.