A plump woven bamboo sphere, evoking a bird’s nest or dumpling, sits amid the Noguchi Museum’s collection of stone giants. Upon closer look, there’s a subtle surprise: It moves.
Swelling like an undulating jellyfish or a slowly inhaling lung, “Breathing Sphere” is a creation of Dutch artist and designer Maria Blaisse , presented to Noguchi by the design researchers at slowLab in Amsterdam.
Named “Arduino,” after the microchip that powers its movement, the structure’s peculiar “breathing” is sedate and hypnotic. A gossamer thread links the top of the sphere to the tiny motor on the bottom. The pulsing is meant to reveal the potential of the flexible bamboo, the relationship between natural materials and the human body, and the many configurations inherent within the form.
“Noguchi is interested in the intersection of industry and nature in an unusually intimate way,” Dakin Hart, senior curator at the museum, said. “This amazing breathing sphere, which is breathing very, very slowly, respirating much slower than we do, is just incredible. It is a hybrid mechanical and biological system.”