It's like science and art had a beautiful baby.
The London-based duo
– Japanese designer Azusa Murakami and British designer Alexander Groves – created one of the most popular installations in Milan’s Salone del Mobile called New Spring. The white tree at Cinema Arti, inspired by Japan's cherry blossom trees, is a six-metre high structure consisting slender tubes that extend up and out like the branches.
What's the catch? Each branch is dropping heavenly-scented, large translucent bubbles every minute. Need I say more? While the bubbles pop when they come in contact with skin, these won't burst when they touch textured fabrics! So, visitors were able to handle them with gloves actualizing our childhood dream of finally holding it!
“There’s a lot of technology that we developed for this,” says Groves. “We had to do a lot of development with the solution, so that the bubbles bounce on fabric, but burst on your skin. And we had to go through a lot of prototyping for the technology. We 3D-printed 2000 individual moving parts for the 30 buds.”
"As well as the visuals, there’s an almost imperceptible soundtrack (“notes slide back and forth, so it’s not too joyful, not too sinister,” according to Groves) and the room smells of a specially-created combination of cedar, oakmoss, bergamot, jasmine, lime and bitter orange (they’d be mad not to bottle and sell it)," Stuart Brumfitt of Amuse says.
The installation is actually specifically an exploration of unusual materials."Our many common values – a focus on timelessness over trend, functionality with beauty, and the exploration of materials – means that working together is a very natural fit," she said
Now just imagine being there, smelling the calmness while seeing the white tree in a black backdrop with the repeated musical notes and rhythm of the bubble. That's like Zen! It's even close to hypnotic.
“We don’t tell people to talk quietly or not to run, but everyone goes in with respect and it encourages a certain behaviour,” says Murakami. “The whole piece is inspired by the cherry blossom festival of Japan. It’s designed to bring people together, to create this shared experience.”