Computational Sculptures

Patterned by Nature

From flocking birds to cuttlefish skin, patterns from nature animate a sculptural ribbon of LCD panels.

Client
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Collaborators
Hypersonic Engineering & Design
Plebian Design
Patten Studio

Services
Creative Direction
Design & User Experience
Software Development
Fabrication & Installation
Project Management

Patterned by Nature was commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for the newly built Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The artwork, a collaboration between Plebian Design, Hypersonic Engineering & Design, Patten Studio, and Sosolimited, celebrates our abstraction of nature's infinite complexity into patterns through the scientific process, and through our perceptions. It brings to light the similarity of patterns in our universe, across all scales of space and time.

10 feet wide and 90 feet in length, this sculptural ribbon winds through the five story atrium of the museum and is made of 3600 tiles of LCD glass. It runs on roughly 75 watts, less power than a laptop computer. Animations are created by independently varying the transparency of each piece of glass.

The content cycles through twenty programs, ranging from clouds to rain drops to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to geese to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes. The animations were created through a combination of algorithmic software modeling of natural phenomena and compositing of actual footage.

An eight channel soundtrack accompanies the animations on the ribbon, giving visitors clues to the identity of the pixelated movements. In addition, two screens show high resolution imagery and text revealing the content on the ribbon at any moment.

Patterned by Nature visualizes patterns from the natural world.
Legend screens display high resolution versions of the sculpture content.
The sculpture soars over visitors' heads as it winds through the atrium.
The sculpture is made from adjustable LCD glass technology.
The sculpture filters natural light and runs on low power.
Press & Accolades
The 4,000 pound structure looks weightless as it bends and twists through the sun-filled atrium, looking like a ribbon blowing in the wind.
Related Projects