In this day and age escaping the world of architecture is pretty much impossible. The very fact that you’re reading this article on the Internet almost necessarily means that you’re in or near a building that has an Internet connection. It’s possible that you’re a total recluse and you’re reading this on a smartphone out in the middle of the wilderness, but odds are high that you spend more than half of your day inside of a building.
That gives architecture a unique advantage that other art forms don’t have. Buildings are so central to modern society that an architect’s work will be viewed millions of times. You probably see dozens or even hundreds of buildings every single day, and each one of those buildings give you a glimpse of the person who created it. Many architects have been capitalizing on this opportunity by incorporating messages into their designs with the hopes that people will take notice.
One popular subject right now is water. I mean, how could it not be? Global water levels are rising, clean drinking water is still a major issue in come countries, and rising trends in conservationism and environmentalism are changing how people look at H20.
Today, we’re going to draw a Venn diagram and take a look at the intersection of art, architecture, and water. By being a very part of the city and the surroundings, these luminescent art pieces will help citizens understand water in a whole new light.
1. Giant Glowing Fish Sculptures
Located on the beaches of Rio de Janiero, this pair of glowing fish was made entirely out of recycled plastic water bottles. The idea behind this sculpture (which you’ll find is a common trend among these art pieces) is to encourage thoughtful consideration about recycling, plastic waste, and the impact that mankind has on aquatic environments. This art does the job amazingly well. But unlike so many other environmentally-minded messages, it does it in more of a “Wow, so pretty” type of way and less of a “Now I feel guilty” kind of way.
2. LED Swimming Pool
The Spanish Art Collective created this fake glowing swimming pool by filling everyday plastic containers with blue LED lights. I’d expect a bunch of LED lights arranged in a rectangle to look like, well, a bunch of LED lights, but it actually does kind of resemble a swimming pool. That might just be because the people lounging around the glowing pool kind of look like they’re about to take a dip.
3. Flowing Water Fountain
Made by the same collection of artists as the LED pool, this installation was made out of recycled glass containers. Appropriately named “Drinking Water Running Through the Streets,” this art piece reminds the citizens of Madrid just how wasteful overusing water can be, and that conserving water can have a huge impact on the worldwide ecosystem.
4. Bamboo Rain
This illuminated pavilion was on display at South Korea’s Expo 2012. German designers Tamaschick Media+Space and Atelier Bruckner created a piece of art that is reminiscent of plant shoots, falling rain, and waterfalls all at the same time. The coolest thing about it is that the stalks are activated by touch, so people walking through the area will send out rippling waves of light.
5. ORB Jellyfish
Designed by Danish development team Urbanbotics, these so-called ORBs are floating LED lights that give an eerie yet calming glow to harbors, beaches, and docks. Unlike the jellyfish that they resemble, these ORBs can actually dodge incoming boats. Whenever they encounter a loud noise, such as the noise from a boat engine, they will quickly sink to the seabed and remain there until the boat has departed. This allows them to efficiently provide illumination in the presence or absence of boats, but without the risk of getting destroyed by the propellors. Pretty cool, huh?