Studio Drift is a design team based in Amsterdam that engages with light and natural forms by producing exquisite sculptural light structures, exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. They are grandiose and breathtaking, both in design and in performance. Their ‘Shylight’ installations (like the one above at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam) are based on the movement of flowers, which open and close in reaction to light. Seeing them in action is just exquisite and astonishing.
When the light is switched on, they drop down from their metal cages and open up into full bloom. Studio Drift explains: ‘Five calyxes perform a mechanical ballet of opening and closing. In this light sculpture we combine again nature’s changing movement with advanced robot and light technology. The calyxes are made of many layers of organic silk. In turn they unfold in all their glory only to retreat timidly, like flowers closing up at night.’
Shylights at the GEM, museum of contemporary art The Hague.
They go on to explain their inspiration – ‘Most man-made objects have a static form, while everything natural in this world, including people, are subject to constant metamorphosis and adaptation to their surroundings. Shylight is the result of a question: how can an inanimate object mimic those changes that express character and emotions? After a research period of five years, Studio Drift found the final form to express their idea. It is a lamp that looks alive because of unpredictable, natural-looking movements: it descends to blossom in all its glorious beauty, to subsequently close and retreat upwards again.’
You can own a little bit of the magic. This is the Drift Dandelight, hand made in the Netherlands studio and available by mail order (click on Dandelight). A dandelion clock is formed by placing each flower seed, one by one, around an LED light.
With their Fragile Future III project, Studio Drift went even bigger. Electrical circuits are fashioned into a 3D bronze structure which connects real light-emitting dandelion clocks. According to Studio Drift: ‘The project can be seen as a critical yet Utopian vision on the future of our planet, where two seemingly opposite evolutions have made a pact to survive.’
Fragile Future 111 presents a dandelion ‘a transient and symbolic example of the evolution of nature’ and contrasts it with the ‘rapid technological developments of our age’ and asks ‘could these two evolve together and meet in the future?’ Each bronze module is a visible circuit with three ‘dandelights’ which can be attached together in unlimited different ways.