Lotus Dome by
Studio Roosegaarde


Dutch design lab Studio Roosegaarde has built a dome of metallic flowers that appear to come to life as they sense the presence of visitors inside a church in Lille, France (+ movie).

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

Lotus Dome is constructed from hundreds of light-sensitive flowers made from 'lotus foil', a material developed by the designers using several thin layers of polyester film.

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

Sensors are used to detect human movement and trigger the dome's internal lights to shine towards people moving around the space. The light causes the flowers to open up so that they appear to be responding to visitors' behaviour.

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

The dome sits idle when the space is empty but becomes increasingly animated as it detects more people. "It's sort of an animal in that way," artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde told Dezeen. "We call it a soft machine, with half animal qualities and half technological qualities."

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

The installation was commissioned by arts organisation Lille 3000 for Fantastic 2012, a festival of futuristic concepts in design and the arts. "We were approached by the city to reconnect inhabitants with their town again," said Roosegaarde, who found the "beautiful but deserted space" of Sainte Marie Madeleine Church on a walk through the town.

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

Lotus Dome will be open to visitors until 13th January 2013.

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

We recently featured another project at Fantastic 2012 – Ross Lovegrove's silver spaceship in the rafters of the city's railway station.

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

Another Studio Roosegarde project we've featured is a dress that turns see-through when its wearer becomes embarrassed or excited.

Lotus Dome by Studio Roosegaarde

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Here's some further information from the designers:

This weekend interactive artwork Lotus Dome by artist and architect Daan Roosegaarde was opened in Sainte Marie Madeleine Church in Lille, France. Lotus Dome is a living dome made out of hundreds of ultra-light aluminium flowers that fold open in response to human behaviour.

When approached, the big silver dome lights up and opens its flowers. Its behaviour moves from soft breathing to dynamic mood when more people interact. The light slowly follows people, creating an interactive play of light and shadow. The graphic representations of the lotus flower on the walls, and the deep bass sound, transforms the Renaissance environment into a ‘Techno-Church’.

The smart Lotus foil is specially developed by Studio Roosegaarde and their manufacturers, and is made from several thin layers of Mylar that fold open and close when touched by light. This high-tech craftsmanship is similar to the innovative thinking of the church’s architecture of the 16th century.

Lotus Dome is created for the city of Lille and its locals. The purpose was to activate the beautiful but deserted Renaissance building, and make the architecture become more alive and contemporary. This dynamic relation between people and technology is what Roosegaarde calls ‘Techno-Poetry'. “Lotus Dome functions as a mediator, connecting elements of architecture and nature, of the past and the future,” he says.

  • James

    I’d love to know how and why those foils move. Is there an electrical current going through them? Are they somehow light or heat sensitive? What’s the story? Really cool project.

  • It is because of heat from the light that one side of the layer (black-painted side) expands or contracts.

  • Madison Chua

    The irony is that the lotus flower is synonymous with Buddhism, yet this installation is in a church. Still, this is a fascinating piece of work and would appeal to those who like gimmicky art installations. Because, I really cannot think of any practical use for this, other than as a novelty.