Reeds the Kinetic light installation is designed by VOLNA.
The heart of this installation is the image of reeds growing by the water and the unique sounds they make when the wind is blowing. We designed thin technological “stems” and kinetic “inflorescences” that recreate the shape of reeds. The force of the wind is what controls these elements, creating an effect of flickering light reacting to air currents. The installation is located right beside the water at the K-30 club promenade and lets viewers experience a futuristic reeded wilderness with a view of the Neva River.
We started out with an abstract idea of creating light elements that would stand above the water and be integrated into the surrounding landscape. The coastal cattail, recognizable by the unique shape of its inflorescence, formed the basis of the installation. In approaching this image from a technological and artistic point of view, we wanted to expand upon its natural kinetic potential and the visual light effect it creates.
Sustainability in art and design has become a main area of research for us and a key attribute in our recent works. We figured out a way to visualize the reeds’ wind currents and vitality thanks to the unique aerodynamic design of the installation’s turbines, which allowed us to depict the invisible energy of nature.
Using 3D-printing technology, we were able to rapidly prototype each module. To find the most effective design, we ran different simulations for turbine aerodynamics using real prototypes. The “inflorescence” of each “reed” consists of 8 mechanical elements that are entirely 3D-printed. This allowed us to create lightweight mechanisms that are easy to assemble and maintain—an important factor for complex outdoor artwork. This self-sustaining approach allows us to reduce our ecological impact during the production process.
We understand technology as a part of nature: the behavior of materials and processes determined by the laws of nature and combined with human will. In our art practice, this is not a source of conflict since for us working with technology means learning from nature.