Friday, February 19, 2010


This is an amazing display of 714 metal balls on strings. It really gets creative after 1 minute, so be patient. This display was created by the German company ART+COM on display at the BMW Museum in Munich. 714 individual metallic spheres seem to float weightlessly in the air, rising and sinking haphazardly, then assuming rhythm and pattern as various undulating shapes, then eventually taking on discernible vehicular form – before the cycle starts over again.

One of ART+COM’s designers to explains:

“For us the design process starts in a chaos; it’s a chaos of many, many different ideas that are independent of each other, that are just floating around. And then from this chaos, different shapes begin to emerge… that then gradually split into several shapes – different kinds of ideas that compete with each other as a kind of representation of finding the right solution to a design challenge. And then given the context, the final step in the narrative, you will see a real recognisable shape of a car.”

The metal orbs are suspended from slender steel wires attached to individually controlled motors, with the whole arrangement covering an area of six square meters. Brought into motion, the shifting cyclical narrative plays out over 7 minutes of escalating beauty.

Making the Kinetic Sculpture was challenging; the building where it is displayed proved problematic due to vibrations from an adjacent factory – less than ideal when working with fine mechanics. Then a software bug made the installation move up instead of down and almost destroy itself – not so dramatic when you are working with pixels; much more so with physical objects.

The engineer in me LOVES this. Here’s the longer version of the piece with more tranquil music. Enjoy:

All images: ART+COM

1 comment:

  1. these kinetic balls are incredible! my granddaughter loves them so much!