This digital organism lights up your garden and survives in any weather without any humans to help

Move over Tamagochi. This “digital organism” can live in nature and survive any weather without any human intervention while looking great at night, too!

Art installations that blend technology and nature are nothing new, but many simply take inspiration from nature in terms of design or structure. These installations also take up a lot of time and effort to maintain, not to mention electricity that could be used for more important purposes. That’s where Werc’s collection of light and sound installations comes in, taking inspiration from nature not in the way they look but in the way they “live” in nature, just like normal biological critters.

Designer: Werc Studio

Tane is described as a self-reliant art installation and a “digital organism” at the same time. It’s completely electronic, with no organic components, but it mimics how groups of organisms behave, especially when the weather is involved. At its most basic, each Tane, which is the name for both the group as well as individual “organisms,” is a solar-powered outdoor LED lamp. What makes it different is how it responds to the weather and to its neighbors, almost like a living creature.

During the day, it tries to soak up as much sunlight as it can while emitting a gentle noise that could call to mind daytime critters like insects and even birds. Tane starts its light show at night, but how it displays its lights is dependent on so many different factors, including the weather, that it almost feels random. Each night can be a different experience, and when all units in a Tane are fully charged, the art installation goes over the moon with a dazzling display of lights.

Tane is actually the third of Werc’s “Lumo” family of digital organisms. All three are also self-sufficient to a certain degree and communicate with each other like a flock but also respond to their environments in different ways. Pixi attaches itself to trees and reacts to temperature and humidity, while Lily floats on water and reacts to waves. Tane and its cousins not only how art and technology can be inspired by nature but how they can also learn from it to produce visually satisfying and also sustainable designs.

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This bamboo cooling device combats climate change as a sustainable alternative to modern AC units!

French multidisciplinary firm AREP developed an alternative, energy-efficient cooling device out of bamboo as a sustainable, low-tech, and affordable means for cold air.

The ongoing threat of climate change has spurred many designers to action. Facing the imminency of prolonged storms, flooding, and recurrent heatwaves, coastal cities, and dry areas are especially vulnerable to the effects of our changing climate.

Vietnam is particularly affected by heatwaves, the city’s most chronic and cyclic of climate events. With excessive heat increasing the need for cold air, air conditioning units are constantly taking great amounts of energy to cool the city down and leaking coolant gas in the process, directly fueling the climate crisis.

Following cues from the Seoul Architecture and Urbanism Biennale 2021 “building the resilient city,” French multi-disciplinary firm AREP designed an alternative, energy-efficient cooling device for a sustainable, low-tech, and affordable solution to combatting the climate crisis. Forming a hyperboloid shape for structural stability, the cooling device stands as a bamboo tower that naturally cools air through the adiabatic principle by using, “the natural freshness of water.”

Explaining the cooling process, architects behind the bamboo tower describe, “To evaporate, water needs energy, which is ‘absorbed’ from the heat of the ambient air, thus generating the cooling effect.” More simply, the firm reasons that the process can be compared to moving closer to an open-air pool on a summer day–the closer you get, the cooler the air feels.

Inspired by the city’s local craftsmanship, the hyperboloid bamboo structure is stationed in Hanoi, Vietnam, where craft villages specialize in bamboo, silk, and pottery, among other trades. Relying on sustainable building and operation methods, AREP designed a cooling device that can be built responsibly from abundant, local resources.

Depending on the adiabatic principle for function, the bamboo tower features a grid of main poles that transfer water through gravity. Then, “at its center is installed a blower taking the hot air from above and pushing it down at human height. As it crosses the water twice, the air is naturally cooled by the adiabatic principle.”

Upon developing their own BIM parametric digital model for prototype phasing, AREP envisions the alternative cooling device in dryer climates, like near the Mediterranean basin or in the gulf, for public squares, sunny pedestrian streets, and larger buildings like train stations.

Designer: AREP

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These wooden urban architecture sculptures in Venice are calling for climate action!

Climate change has inspired a lot of designs and installations over recent years, but there is something poetically ironic about Issori’s ‘A Line of Water’  which was unveiled during Dutch Design Week 2021. It is a sculptural gesture and call to climate action designed to live in Venice, one of the cities that will face the wrath of rising sea levels faster than others. The wooden installation spreads awareness about the water levels while also giving the community a space to relax in – didn’t I say poetically ironic?

The series of wooden installations enable its inhabitants to be fully immersed in the city’s lagoon landscape. The urban architecture proposal includes benches, platforms, and pier-like extensions that would be partially immersed during high tide and fully accessible during low tide. The aim of the project is to foster more awareness of the shifting sea levels, which are increasing the frequency of high tides in the city. At the same time, Issori wanted to create a place to relax and be together. She describes it as an “urban living room”.

“The phenomenon of high and low tide is unique,” says Issori. “It is part of the everyday life of locals, as well as an attraction for tourists. Related to atmospheric events and climate change, the raising of the tide is more and more frequent not only in this area but also in other parts of the world. In the research, I wanted to explore a way to embrace the water and connect with nature, while taking the time to be fully immersed in the lagoon landscape.”

Building on the area’s historical blueprint, Issori imagines the contemporary interventions in the gardens of Sant’Elena in the Castello district. The district was an uninhabited lagoon until the 1920’s when the land was reclaimed and a new residential area was built. The series of platforms extend outward from the water’s edge as well as multiple circular designs with tiered seating for people to gather.

Issori imagines the platforms being made from oak and larch wood, the same materials used to create the piles on which Venice’s foundation is built. These types of wood are used because of their density, strength, and water resistance. “The construction system involved is the same one used to build Venice. The wooden poles are planted in the clayey soil where the oxygen is not present so that the deterioration process doesn’t take place. The part of the pole which is in contact with water will slowly be damaged and would need to be replaced with the passing of years,” she explains.

There are also several installations on land for people to interact with specifically during high tide, which include sloped platforms and a curved bench. ​​Italian squares and the rounded shape of Sicilian amphitheaters were reference points when opting for rounded forms, as well as a desire to make users feel protected. The circular shape is a kind of hug and invites people to sit together, share, walk on them or lay down – either way, you will be fully immersed in the landscape and closer to water.

Designer: Margherita Issori

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This almost-transparent public installation inspired by Greenland’s indigenous culture is constructed from glass bricks!

Inspired by the local area’s rich cultural and indigenous histories, the Qaammat Fjeld Pavilion built by Konstantin Ikonomidis is a public installation made from transparent glass bricks located between two fjords in Sarfannguit, Greenland.

Nature has been the ultimate source of inspiration to designers and architects for centuries. While its sheer power and unpredictability are enough to send chills through us, the force of nature finds softer power in its vulnerability and resilience.

Taking to Sarfannguit, Greenland’s cultural architecture and treacherous topography to guide his creative process, architect Konstantin Ikonomidis built the Qaammat Fjeld Pavilion, a public installation stationed in between two fjords that meet on the eastern tip of the local area’s hills.

Architect Konstantin Ikonomidis used the fjords and mountainous terrains of Sarfannguit, an environment Greenlandic Inuit have lived in harmony with for millennium, as his muse when constructing the Qaammat Fjeld Pavilion.

Hoping to bring locals and visitors closer to the scenery and heritage that have enrichened the area’s cultural and indigenous history, Ikonomidis designed the Qaammat Fjeld Pavilion with the utmost respect for the landscape it stands atop.

Keeping the structure close to the local area’s traditional building techniques, Ikonomidis anchored the Qaammat Fjeld Pavilion to the rocky mountain by drilling 40-mm holes into the terrain for vertical beams to form the installation’s foundation.

Two horizontal metal bars propped upon the in-ground beams bend to form two semi-circles. Working with Wonderglass, a London-based glass company, Ikonomidis laid bricks on top of the horizontal bars to give rise to the semi-circles. Carved through the middle of the Qaammat Fjeld Pavilion, Ikonomidis cut an entryway and vista point for visitors to walk through and enjoy the icy landscape.

Reflecting the fjord-ridden landscape through glass bricks, Ikonomidis hoped to show visitors and locals the morphing environment as time passes and seasons change. The glass bricks also play with the rising and setting sun to bring out crystalline shadows and light displays.

Designer: Konstantin Ikonomidis

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This interactive lotus-shaped art installation moves in response to light!

Art installations like the Lotus Oculus have all the elements that make it a piece you can stare at for hours – it is intriguing, intelligent, and inspiring. This nature-inspired structure uses a smart material that mimics how flowers act when greeted by the sun, thus the dome also is reactive to light! Lotus Oculus was commissioned by Bulgari and was placed in the Modern Art Gallery in Milan.

The story began in 2010 with a little curiosity and a lot of research on smart materials. Studio Roosegaarde’s design team was searching for a material that looked like something that came from nature and also responded to stimuli in real-time. That is how smart flowers were born and over a decade, the studio has done multiple art installations evolving in scope and shape but maintaining the common factor – they all open in response to light and Lotus Oculus is the most recent one.

Lotus Oculus pays homage to the grandeur of the Pantheon and continues the legacy by creating an organic architecture of movement and shadows. This dynamic dialogue is what Daan Roosegaarde calls Techno-Poetry,” the artist explains. When you see the art in motion, it seems to breathe in the air around it. The geometric orb is made of several small panels of smart material and each of which curls into a flower shape when stimulated!

The entire exhibit comes to life as the parts fold and unfold in response to the changing environment and light intensity which presents a show of light and movement throughout the space. The interactive installation is a mix of art and design, it was awarded the A’Design Gold Award and Media Architecture Award Denmark. Some installations are permanent like the Lotus Maffei in the Palazzo Maffei Museum in Verona, Italy and the Lotus Dome in Sainte Marie Madeleine Church in Lille, France.

This striking installation draws you in, observe, move around it and bring the petals to life as you interact with it. Roosegaarde describes this tangible connection between light and material as “a metamorphosis of nature and technology. In search of a new harmony between people and the environment, Lotus is a work of art and a pilot for more organic architecture.”

Designer: Studio Roosegaarde

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This modular open-air pool can be disassembled and moved throughout Copenhagen’s harbor!

The Dyppezone is a modular, open-air bath that’s easily disassembled and movable throughout the harbor, bringing cold water basins in the winter and children’s pools in the summer.

If you live in a city with a body of water, chances are you’ve felt that spontaneous urge to just jump into the harbor or lake on a late walk for a night swim with friends. While the urge is strong, it’s typically not advised to take the plunge–water depths are unknown, no lifeguard is ever on duty, and the ‘swims’ usually just consist of treading. In Copenhagen, Maritime Architecture Studio unveiled the Dyppezone, a movable open-air bath that’s portable and modular by design.

The Dyppezone, located in Copenhagen’s harbor, comprises eight movable modules that easily attach to one another to form an octagonal pool in the middle of the harbor. When assembled together, the modules come together and form an adjustable bottom that can be raised or elongated according to varying needs and changing seasons.

With its adjustable bottom, Maritime Architecture Studio notes, “the Dyppezone can be used both as a children’s pool in the summer and as a cold water basin in the winter.”

While Copenhagen’s harbor is no stranger to permanent bathing zones, the Dyppezone differs from those structures with the modular structure that allows it to be disassembled, packaged, and transported easily around the harbor. Maritime Architecture Studio envisions the Dyppezone located either in existing bathing zones or in close proximity to harborside events with saunas set up on the quayside for use following the pool.

Bringing the urge to jump in the harbor to all city visitors and residents, Maritime Architecture Studio says that the Dyppezone is, “Free for use to all bathing Copenhageners who want a comfortable and safe way to swim in the harbor.”

Designer: Maritime Architecture Studio


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This bamboo pavilion is an interactive design that transforms a rural landscape into a social hub!

Bamboo Pavilion by LIN Architecture is a rural construction project in Chongming that transformed an empty grassy landscape into a dynamic interactive hub in hopes of promoting socialization between visitors and residents alike.

Every big city has its quiet, eclectic, rural counterpart. Brooklynites take short train rides upstate to Hudson, where they visit flea markets for handcrafted goods and knitwear. Then, Los Angelenos drive east to find their zen and a few grassy hikes in Ojai.

In Shanghai, tourists and local residents escape the city heat for Chongming, a low-lying island brimming with sweeping nature preserves and thriving forests. Settling on one of several rural spaces in Chongming, the team from LIN Architecture developed an architectural structure called Bamboo Pavilion designed as a social hub for the island’s residents and visitors.

Relying on one of the strongest construction materials available, Bamboo Pavilion was realized by the architects from LIN, along with designers and students from across the globe, reinstating the Pavilion’s main purpose of bringing people from all walks of life together to share a moment interacting with artfully architectural spaces.

During the day, the Bamboo Pavilion reflects sunlight off its naturally glazed coat. Then, come dark, the Bamboo Pavilion glimmers with golden light from the inside, out, implying a sort of lantern in the night that shines for and attracts tourists filled with wanderlust.

Much of what makes rural construction projects so intriguing for designers and guests comes with the transformation of ‘empty’ space into ‘active’ space. LIN’s Bamboo Pavilion in Chongming turns to free-flowing shapes and lively jungle gym-like architecture to morph the island’s grassland into a hub of social activity and curiosity.

Turning a rural lot’s available space into an interactive architectural pavilion allows visitors to understand familiar landscapes in exciting, new ways. As the designers behind LIN put it, “Interactions between family members or strangers are realized by the space enticing people to break boundaries. People spend their time resting, talking, and transiting around this installation.”

Designer: LIN Architecture

LIN’s architectural vision was realized with the help of designers and students from across the globe!

During the day, the Bamboo Pavilion creates changing light blocks and shadows for a reflective, dynamic display.

From above, the Bamboo Pavilion evokes curiosity and wonder. 

Children and tourists alike can enjoy interacting with this rural landscape in new ways while socializing with one another. 

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This sustainable structure is made of probiotic materials!

Sustainable architecture is one thing but structures made of mushrooms and microbes are a whole new level! The Living is a New York-based innovative studio that puts biology, computation, and sustainability at the core of their work. They designed a structure from mycelium which is what NASA is experimenting with for housing on Mars and now they have designed ‘Alive’ – an architecture prototype to promote various microbial communities through the calibration of grain, light, and airflow. It showcases the idea of ​​living together with concepts related to different microbial communities, as well as to different human communities. Experience it virtually here!

Alive is pushing the boundaries for probiotic buildings and multi-species architecture. The installation is exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale to demonstrate how organic materials with microbial properties could be used in architecture to help create healthier environments for humans. It has a room made of rough organic, porous material that provides a large surface area and many different microclimates for various types of microbes. Alive also includes macro-spaces for humans and micro-spaces for microbes, as well as material interfaces for exchange between these different species.

The unique structure represents an evolution of ongoing research by The Living, the team constantly works with biologists and academics to explore the potential of multi-species architecture and how best to harness the microbes that surround us all the time. Advances in biological technologies such as bio-computing, bio-sensing, and bio-fabricating are offering new opportunities for using living organisms in architecture.

“As a society, we are increasingly aware of how a good gut microbiome promotes individual health, and in a similar way, it is now clear that a good urban microbiome promotes public health. This means that instead of creating architecture and spaces that are sterile and antibiotic, we should develop environments that are alive and probiotic,” said David Benjamin, Founder and Principal at The Living.

This structure shows potential for creating urban microbiomes that would help cities evolve their architecture into more sustainable development by using bio-receptive materials for construction instead of concrete which would also cut down heavily on carbon emissions. The construction industry contributes to more than a third of the global carbon emissions and most of it comes from concrete!

Bio-receptive materials trap and host microorganisms in surfaces containing pockets with different temperatures, moisture levels, airflow and nutrients. These organic, living materials support colonies of microbes that in turn promote the health of people in their vicinity. This is a sustainable, natural and organic alternative construction material that works for both humans and the planet.

The Alive installation is constructed from dried fibres of luffa – an inexpensive, renewable and fast-growing vegetable that grows on vines in tropical and subtropical regions. Luffa’s fibrous surfaces form a strong and organic material that is ideally suited to hosting diverse microbes and could be easily adapted to form panelling products or partitions for use in architectural projects.

“The project is a prototype for the architecture of the future, but at the same time, it is relevant to current buildings. It can be easily adapted into many environments like today’s offices and restaurants, with partition walls and acoustic tiled ceilings, or tomorrow’s buildings with microbial facades that remove pathogens from the air,” adds Benjamin.

The design promotes the architectural potential of luffa and other probiotic materials while also creating spaces that allow different levels of light and airflow. Researchers and previous collaborators Kevin Slavin and Elizabeth Henaff will use a DNA sequencer to determine what species of bacteria lived in the material to continue the research and make this a material that can truly be used beyond exhibitions. Alive is truly eye-opening, with combined efforts of designers and scientists it is possible to find sustainable alternatives that can be scaled to solve bigger problems!

Designer: The Living

LEGO and Minion-inspired creatures take over the French street bollards with artist Le CyKlop!

French street artist Le CyKlop transforms city bollards into anthropomorphic, LEGO-inspired caricatures using yellow spray paint and his own sticker designs, dubbing the urban art Angry L’éGO.

Cities across the globe are home to unconventional local celebrities who turn sidewalks and building facades into blank public canvases where they can stamp their own artful print. In Paris, urban street artist Le CyKlop transforms the cobblestone avenues into LEGO-inspired city sets. Using his own sticker designs, Le CyKlop spray paints the tips of street bollards in yellow, finishing them off with anthropomorphic stickers that make each bollard look like one-eyed LEGO characters, dubbing the public art Angry L’éGO.

Beginning in 2014, Le CyKlop, a French street artist, has transformed bollards into LEGO figures throughout France. Le CyKlop has brought LEGO-inspired street art to different communes like Pantin, Colombes, and Montreuil.

After first picking out the bollards that he thinks could use some bright yellow makeup, Le CyKlop spray paints them so it looks like they’ve been turned upside down and dipped in yellow paint. Then, Le CyKlop pops some stickers onto the bollards, giving each one a distinct cyclops-inspired facial expression ranging from happiness to mischievous, and from fear to anger.

Le CyKlop found inspiration for his urban art through Greek mythology and the iconic building blocks brand LEGO. Describing his spray paint street art, Le CyKlop notes, “In my work, I try to break free from conventional supports such as walls or canvas, to invest in the objects. By putting an eye on them, I try to make them come alive, to give them a soul and to give birth to a form of fantasy.”

Designer: Le CyKlop

This interactive bench design features movable wooden elements that mimic a kinetic wave!

Surf Bench is an interactive bench designed for waiting room areas and to teach us about physics, is made from dozens of movable wooden and steel elements that mimic the flow of a kinetic wave.

When you’re stuck in a waiting room and left to your own devices, you make your own fun. Whether that means endlessly scrolling through Twitter, counting the tiles on the floor, or finding how far back you can lean in your chair, waiting rooms test your imagination until time moves faster or your name is called. With a single goal of making life around us (and waiting rooms) more pleasant, South German designer Kim André Lange created Surf Bench, a piece of interactive waiting room furniture that’s designed to bring people together, keep us busy, and teach us about physics in the meantime.

Designed to appear almost like a spinal cord, Surf Bench is comprised of moving wood and steel elements that change shape when interacted with to mimic the flow of a kinetic wave. When someone sits down on Surf Bench, their weight sends a ripple effect through the length of the bench, becoming a sort of life-size fidget spinner, one of those handheld devices uses to stave off looming anxiety. Sitting down on Surf Bench, users will notice the bench’s potential to occupy our senses, attention, and tactile urges.

When we’re stuck in waiting rooms, our hands land on whatever might provide some stimulation. Expressing this human tendency in conjunction with the design of Surf Bench, Kim André Lange notes, “The Surf Bench Project focuses on humans in public waiting areas – places where people experience time. By observing these places a strong visible emotion sticks out: nervosity…By analyzing present waiting areas one object is found in most of them: the waiting bench. An object without any characteristics helping us get through that nervous time in between.”

Sending kinetic waves down the entire length of Surf Bench not only keeps our minds occupied, but educates us on the physics behind it. Providing a tactile experience that also serves to educate the public on physics, Surf Bench will keep us entertained and might even help us forget we’re waiting for something in the first place.

Designer: Kim André Lange