10. Jul 2015

The stuff that visions are made of

Photos: Philip Beesley

In the film Avatar, Pandora is depicted as an earth-like planet full of magical plants and luminescent flowers. The animated environment comes across as an interesting mix of the surreal, the breath-taking and the futuristic. In contrast, the immersive interactive sculpture bearing the name “Epiphyte Membrane”, which was designed by the Canadian architect Philip Beesley and his team, was completely real. And still it reminded the onlooker of specific scenes and motifs out of the film. Epiphyte Membrane took the form of a suspended canopy made up of crystal-like shapes and forms installed within the massive concrete spaces of the Opernwerkstätten in Berlin. It was part of the group exhibition Photography Playground that took place in 2014. Light and shadow were used to underscore the drama of the sculpture and to create a shadow-play on adjacent walls and floor.

Epiphyte Membrane consisted of 25,000 different pieces of glass and acrylic glass coupled with polymer fronds, feathers and metal, illuminated by a custom LED solution. Sensors enabled the structure to respond to viewers’ movements with light and sound. The interactive soundwork designed by Salvador Breed created a synthetic forest of sound emanating from multiple miniature speakers embedded within the sculptural membrane, producing a constantly-shifting field of machine-made whispers.

The unique sculpture allowed visitors to experience first-hand how the vision of hybrid futuristic environments influence real-world architecture.

Project team:

Sculpture design: Philip Beesley Architect Inc. – Philip Beesley, Martin Correa, Salvador Miranda, Jordan Prosser, Adam Schwartzentruber
Sound design: Salvador Breed


Epiphyte Membrane from PBAI on Vimeo.

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