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Monday, May 21, 2018

A stimulating game of perception

By Savitha Hira
Photography: Kateryna Iakovlieva, Orproject
Read Time: 2 mins
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Integrating natural elements into computer-aided design, Orproject’s latest and award winner of the A-Design Gold for 2018 is a sculptural art installation that explores the medium of light as a material. 

Architecture and design practice, Orproject with offices in London, Beijing and New Delhi has always been on the threshold of exploring cutting-edge advanced geometries to result in a high-end aesthetic with an ecologic agenda. 

Their most recent private commission for a 200-plus-year-old home garden in Dusseldorf, Germany is a sculptural tree – a modern intervention that mimics its natural counterparts – perhaps initiating many a dialogue on life and its evolving philosophies.

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Using the analogy of the process of photosynthesis in plants, where plants grow towards the source of light and the veins in their leaves supply every cell with nutrients – a process that results in overall growth of the plants; the architects develop a tree-trunk-like installation with a stainless-steel surface, set onto which are side-glowing fiber-optic cables that appear like the veins of Ivy on a tree. 

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Expressing their architectural approach to ecological design via a visual narrative, playing on slight of eye in a stimulating game of perceptions, the design is developed using computational algorithms. It employs a 3mm thick layer of CNC-bent and CNC-cut stainless steel that wraps around bent rings, giving it its angular form. Discreetly threading fine cables through miniscule apertures found on the surface, fibre-optic cables are tied to the tree-like sculptural form. Precision underlines the geometry as well as the execution. The result: a self-supporting, hollow, metal, colour-changing tree weighing approx. 800kg that glows in the dark!

Christening it Photoptosis – stylized from photosynthesis and fibre-optics – the making of the art involved first applying the algorithm to the stainless-steel structure and then replicating it with the incorporation of fibre-optic cables. “In order to have the intricate branching appear mostly on the front of the tree, its growth was calculated in a non-Euclidean, warped space,” informs the firm’s Delhi Partner, Rajat Sodhi, who spent three weeks to install it on site.

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During the day, the lighting system is almost invisible, and the stainless-steel tree forms a prominent focal point. However, when dawn sets in, the glowing veins slowly start to emerge, until the tree fully disappears into the darkness of night and only the vein structure stands otherworldly in the garden. 

Fact File: Title: Photoptosis 
Architects: Orproject
Project Architects: Christoph Klemmt, Rajat Sodhi
Structural Engineering: Bollinger & Grohmann
Metal Work: Winterberg Metall
Location: Dusseldorf, Germany





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