New Yorkers looking for a place to cool off during the summer will do well to duck into Long Island City’s MoMA PS1 – and it’s not just because the museum’s galleries are air-conditioned. A new interactive installation there, called Lumen, is an experience well-worth the trip. Lumen feels like a bright underwater landscape with 250 jellyfish-like tubular structures that interact with light, heat and movement. As the sun sets, colorful solar-powered lights come on, transforming the entire courtyard with an otherworldly vibe.
Designed by Jenny Sabin Studio and debuting to the public June 29, Lumen is the winner of The Museum of Modern Arts and MoMA PS1’s 18th edition of the Young Architects Program and will serve as the setting for the 20th season of the Warm Up outdoor concert series this summer. The project integrates various disciplines, including biology, materials science, mathematics, engineering and design, to produce an artistic micro-climate that is both environmentally responsive and beautiful.
The canopy is made of over 1,000,000 yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber. During the day, the sun shines through the gaps in the canopy’s fabric to create murals of light and shadows against the concrete walls.Because the design requirements called for shade, water and seating, a responsive water system was incorporated into the hanging fabric tubes.
Called stalactites, the tubes spray a fine mist when bodies draw near. In addition, 100 recycled spool stools (also robotically woven) provide a place to rest tired feet after a day roaming through the galleries, meeting another criteria that designs incorporate sustainability and recycling in its elements. The recycled fabric absorbs solar power over the course of the day and then emits it at night.
Lumen appeals to the senses; the soft white fabric is juxtaposed against the hard wooden seats and floors engraved with white geometric patterns. The installation invites visitors to play among the hanging fabric as water hits their skin. Lumen exudes both weightlessness and levity as the canopy sways in the breeze during the day and then almost an eeriness when it morphs into a photoluminescent wonderland. Once the Warm Up music series kicks off July 1, custom lighting incorporated into the installation’s design will complement the shows to provide both a visual and aural experience. All of which should make for one vibrant summer.
Lumen will be on view at MoMA PS1’s courtyard from June 29 though August 27.
All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat