Blumen Lumen

A garden of ten giant origami flowers that bloom in the presence of people and move with the wind, creating a magical experience for their visitors.

The blossoms are activated by a mechanical structure in each Blumen head that gently makes them open and close. They tower high above humans' heads, with flowers varying in height between 15 and 22 feet. In the desert, the anchoring steel structure was buried beneath the ground, making the flowers appear even more surreal. 

Blumen Lumen premiered at Burning Man 2014, and were shown at numerous events and festivals before finding a permanent home in a private collection.

Materials

Corrugated Polypropylene
Steel, Aluminum, PVC parts
Linear Actuators
LEDs, custom electronics

Thank you to our supporters

Blumen Lumen was made possible by the work and contributions of many. In particular, we would like to
thank the Black Rock Arts Foundation and IDEO for their generous support.

Currently locateD

  • Privately owned, Chicago, IL

  • IDEO, Palo Alto, CA (1 flower)

Past Exhibitions

  • KANEKO light exhibition, Omaha, NE, 2017-18 (link)

  • KANEKO KINETIC exhibition, Omaha, NE, 2017 (link)

  • Canal Convergence, Scottsdale, AZ, 2017 (link)

  • SF City Hall Centennial Celebration, 2016

  • Exploratorium, 2016

  • Private event, Las Vegas, NV, 2015

  • NIMBY, 2015

  • SuperHero Street Fair, 2015

  • Treasure Island Music Festival, 2015

  • Sea of Dreams, 2014

  • BRAF Artumnal, 2014

  • Burning Man, 2014

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From paper to playa

  [1] Paper prototype  Our first prototypes were made from paper, and folded by hand. It took many iterations to get to the right shape and motion.

[1] Paper prototype
Our first prototypes were made from paper, and folded by hand. It took many iterations to get to the right shape and motion.

  [2] Full size prototype  This first model at full scale is hand-actuated by Jesse (in the shadows), who pulls on a cord to close a blossom made of corrugated polypropyene.

[2] Full size prototype
This first model at full scale is hand-actuated by Jesse (in the shadows), who pulls on a cord to close a blossom made of corrugated polypropyene.

  [3] Engineering   It took many prototypes, models, and discussions to figure out how to make the movement work reliably; how the flowers would withstand wind, rain, and humans; and how to be able to produce ten of them with our limited budget and tools.

[3] Engineering
It took many prototypes, models, and discussions to figure out how to make the movement work reliably; how the flowers would withstand wind, rain, and humans; and how to be able to produce ten of them with our limited budget and tools.

 
  [4] Interaction design  To let the flowers react to the presence of people, we added sensors to the flowers that point downwards. They open and close as a result, and create much surprise and joy for their visitors.

[4] Interaction design
To let the flowers react to the presence of people, we added sensors to the flowers that point downwards. They open and close as a result, and create much surprise and joy for their visitors.

  [5] Movement   The movement of the flowers – here shown at an accelerated pace – is brought about by an aluminum structure that is attached to the inside of each bloom.

[5] Movement

The movement of the flowers – here shown at an accelerated pace – is brought about by an aluminum structure that is attached to the inside of each bloom.

  [6] Build process  We used simple PVC pipes to create the stems for each flower, and carefully bent them into different shapes. This required building large molds, and lots of muscle strength.

[6] Build process
We used simple PVC pipes to create the stems for each flower, and carefully bent them into different shapes. This required building large molds, and lots of muscle strength.

  [7] Mass Production  Once the pattern and parts had been developed, each step had to be repeated many times over to produce the many different flowers. This included CNC-routing of the fold patterns made from corrugated plastic.

[7] Mass Production
Once the pattern and parts had been developed, each step had to be repeated many times over to produce the many different flowers. This included CNC-routing of the fold patterns made from corrugated plastic.

[8] Set up on the Playa.
This video makes the set up in the desert seem a lot easier than it actually was, and includes footage of a spectacular rainstorm.

 

Blumen Lumen During the day

 

Blumen lumen at night

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