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2014 | interactive kinetic installation | furniture
commissioned by Perrier-Jouët Champagne
ephemerā -table (photo credit: Oliver Manzi)
ephemerā installation (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
people interacting with the pieces (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
the best is to watch ephemerā in action | play movie by clicking on the image or here
boy interacting with the table (photo credit: Oliver Manzi)
the mirros species grow digitally on the surface and become 3-dimensional when they reach the frame. Once somebody is close they turn into simple mirrors. (photo credit: Oliver Manzi)
detail 'mount diablo buckwheat' - mirror (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
left mirror represents 'rinorea niccolifera' a newly discovered species | right mirror represents 'mount diablo buckwheat' rediscovered in California (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
exhibition visitors (photo credit: Oliver Manzi)
table detail: moving plants (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
detail table when people are close - the table top gets flat and the species just show their black outlines (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
the species represented in ephemerā were shown together with detail information within wooden frames (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)
additionally a book explaines the chosen species in detail and how they were technically translated
view of the whole ephemerā-installation (photo credit: Gesi Schilling)

Commissioned by Perrier-Jouët , the project 'ephemerā' represents the dialogue between mankind and nature through three interactive kinetic furniture pieces - a big oak table and two mirrors. The project was first presented at Design Miami 2014.

Nature is bound by momentum and instinct. We have all experienced the reaction of a snail when we lightly touch it, or if we approach a wild animal. The snail instantly retracts, and the creature runs away. We react to nature and nature reacts to us, in an ongoing dialogue that proves the other’s existence. From a distance we can watch the species in nature for a very long time and enjoy their liveliness. This fleeting moment, and sense of untouchable closeness is at the heart of the Ephemerā installation.
The installation consists of a big oak table and two mirrors. Observed from a distance the pieces' floral decoration appears alive. The plants grow and move, following their own gentle choreography. However, when someone comes close, the plants and insects disappear.

Ephemerā interacts with the audience, inviting participation, discussion and questioning. Each furniture piece uses traditional craftsmanship and advanced technologies to create a completely new typology. The large, simple table is inlaid with a complex collection of botanical motifs on its surface, a contemporary take on marquetry. The chosen species are based on existing ones, either extinct, widely spread or newly discovered. Each individual plant or insect reacts if someone comes too close, retreating into the table, returning to be a functional and simple object. The companion mirrors hang from the walls. From a distance one can see flowers grow across the glass, up and even out of the wooden frame, extending into the room. On closer inspection, the plant will retract, and the mirror becomes, just a mirror.

To enhance the fact that the used botanical shapes are based on reality, single examples are also presented together with basic information in wooden frames in a museum-like setting.

The project is accompanied by a book, which includes more information on the chosen species and explains why they were chosen - conceptually and also technically. The book is a mixture between a brief biology-book and a project documentation, including technical details and backround information.

electro-technical development: Simon Laburda | DKAI
project assistant: Maria Bauhofer, Benedikt Steiner
with special support by Martin Robitsch
many thanks as well to our carpenter Jacqueline Pehack

oiled oak, laser-cut veneer, water-jet cut srping-steel species, various mechanical pieces, motors,
custom made electronics

dimension: 304cm x 94cm x 95cm

material: oiled oak, screen, water-jet cut steel species, various mechanical pieces, motors, custom made electronics
dimensions: 75cm x 130cm x 17cm


Perrier-Jouët Champagne