WALL-E: Design Reconsidered
November 22, 2011
At the Leonardo, the art, science, and technology museum in Salt Lake City, this wall pulsates with life.
Dynamic Performance of Nature is an interactive, real-time communicator of global environmental information via a dynamic interface embedded in the material of the wall. What? Seriously. The wall is saturated with the data fields that make up life.
Designed by Brian Brush and Yong Ju Lee, partners at bi-coastal firm EB Office, this installation is part of a growing trend among young architects to use design objects as a vehicle and catalyst for information sharing.
By now we are used to having live information at our fingertips, but aside from our unabashedly worshiped iPhones, elegant delivery systems are few and far between.
Conversely, this installation combines a love and sometimes pedantic commitment to form with a tangible function, satiating both the growing value placed on the delivery output form and the demand for instantaneous information updates.
The color spectrum flowing through the wall reflects real-time temperatures; the speed of color flow shows actual wind speed; the direction of color flow indicates the direction of the wind with cardinal directions oriented to the sides of the wall. When an earthquake registers with the U.S. Geological Survey, the wall displays the earthquake’s location and the brightness and color of the lights indicates its strength.
The project is conceived upon the notion that sustainability should be crafted something alive and integrated with the physical environment. As architects, Brush and Lee have re-imagined the role of design in information delivery.
“We imagine architecture that is alive—that observes, thinks, processes, and communicates. And that’s what the wall is doing. To us, information is the next material in architecture, and we are crafting a way to begin building with it,” Brush explained to Metropolis.
The installation’s complexity is by no means limited what it represents in the figurative and literal senses. Physically, too, at 92 feet long and over 14 feet high, covering 1300 sq. ft. of exhibition space in the museum’s lobby, this is an awesome new paradigm of what installation architecture can be. Designed using parametric software, it incorporates 176 uniquely shaped fins, with 1,888 LEDs positioned inside them.
Dynamic Performance of Nature presents new iteration of sustainability, wherein design becomes an elegant vehicle through which to celebrate the environment.
All photos by Peter J. Katz.