Architecture and design practice Orproject has created a striking sculpture in Düsseldorf, Germany that combines biomimicry with innovative technologies. Created to simulate plant growth, Photopsis takes the form of a tree built from 100 CNC-cut and CNC-bent stainless steel panels. And, at night, the fiber-optic cables that branch out across the sculpture light up like glowing veins.

close up Photopsis by Orproject

CNC-cut steel panels Photopsis by Orproject

Winner of an A’Design Award, Photopsis was created mainly through computational algorithms and digital simulations of plant growth. “This venation algorithm simulates the need of plants to reach the sun light or of veins in leaves to supply every cell with nutrients,” wrote the architects. “In doing so, the growth of the branches or the veins slowly expands to cover a large area.”

3 millimeter thick steel panels Photopsis by Orproject

tesselated tree sculpture Photopsis by Orproject

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The lighting system projector is hidden in the sculpture’s concrete foundation. The base of the sculpture is also the starting point for a bundle of 200 fiber-optic cables, which gradually branch out to connect to all the nodes on the stainless steel surface, mimicking veins of crawling ivy on a tree. Though the glowing veins are almost imperceptible during daytime, they give Photopsis an otherworldly glow at night.

+ Orproject

Photography: Kateryna Iakovlieva, Orproject

light installation Dusseldorf Photopsis by Orproject