Video: The art of Radiant Soil

Philip Beesley, a prominent Canada-based architect, has debuted his latest exhibit at the EDF Foundation in Paris, France. Blurring the lines between nature and technology, Radiant Soil comprises tall, plant-like structures manufactured out of glass, polymers and metals – all suspended from the ceiling.

According to The Verge, the interlinked “clouds” include motion-tracking and touch sensors that trigger certain responses based on a viewer’s movements.

“Touching one of its plume-like branches, for instance, elicits a vibration that slowly contracts and expands the frond, as a soft air stream runs through its ‘pores,'” writes Amar Toor of The Verge. “Arrays of LED lights, meanwhile, flash and ripple with the movements of a viewer, and scent glands emit musky, ginger-like odors that, like a flower, lure people in as they draw near.”

An Atmel-powered Arduino board was chosen by to “tie everything together,” as it records and loops various actions. And why not? Beesley says Radiant Soil seeks to challenge Western, inorganic traditions of architecture.

“There’s a sense of moving toward a mortality, in which the presences that we build are unapologetically temporary. It can go through a set of transitions and fade and extinguish and arise again,” he explains. “That kind of participation in something which is almost a counter-form to the eternal, a kind of relishing of mortality, produces a festive, rather poignant role for architecture.”

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