We love discovering designs that are not only visually appealing, but also exciting and intriguing to our other critical senses. It makes the entire design more dynamic, interesting, and real when it can be experienced and interpreted from various modes of perception (things you can't experience in a Sketchup or Revit model). So it’s no surprise that when we came across the Aeolus, an installation that combines design, sensory perception, and a little bit of physics, that we simply couldn’t take our eyes (or ears) off of it.
Named for the mythical rulers of the wind in Greek mythology, Aeolus is a giant perforated metal arch with 310 stainless steel tubes of varying proportions affixed to outer portion of the arch. Created by Luke Jerram, multiple senses are impacted as one moves through the Aeolus, making the installation both physically and intellectually stimulating.
From an optical point of view, the perforations and metal tubes act as framing elements to the surrounding landscape. As one changes their position in and around the arch, and as time passes through the course of the day, different scenes and light levels are framed through each viewport. Each opening creates a unique focal point that highlights the fleeting surrounding elements (like clouds in the sky), amplifying their beauty and reinforcing their transitory nature.
From an auditory perspective, the Aeolus seems to give life to the surrounding wind and landscape. As wind moves through the arch and tubes, vibrations resonate creating a singing-effect similar to a finger moving around the rim of a crystal goblet. Depending on the intensity and direction of the wind, different combinations of tones and pitches are emitted, embodying nature itself in its own unique and ever-changing song. And just how the human ear can decipher the direction or general area from which a noise originates, the same can be done with the Aeolus. The acoustic dynamics inherent in the arch make it possible to track the wind’s direction and it’s usually silent shift, just by following the sound.
This installation makes us wonder what other instruments could be adapted to a giant scale that interacts with Mother Nature. Maybe some kind of giant drum that creates noise when branches blown by the wind rap upon the stretched membrane? Or maybe a string instrument where strings are plucked by weather, like raindrops falling from the sky? What ideas do you have?
Image credits: Luke Jerram