Sustainability has become the contemporary word of our time. Why, because nothing on our planet is infinite and we are consuming far more than giving. The outcome towards extinction is inevitable if we don’t learn to reuse or recycle what nature has given us.
The theme for Beijing Design Week this year is Design City, Smart City. Design if taken on a purely aesthetic level, does not create a smart city. It merely improves the skin of the metropolis. But when a design can educate its people, then the people will become smarter and progressively the city they live in will evolve into a truly sustainable organism. This is what a smart city should be. Understanding the value of recycling resources and reducing consumption. The Flower of Life will educate the visitor this ideology and influence future generations to become "smarter" citizens.
The Flower of Life is a mathematical geometry composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles. This figure, used as a decorative motif since ancient times, forms a flower-like pattern with the symmetrical structure of a hexagon.
This symbol is infinite in its composition and represents the ideal condition what life should be. Infinite in its vibrancy and sustainable through reservation and respect with other life forms.
Through this inspiration I decided an installation/spatial enclosure of a circle should form the bases of the design. Through this circle an array of 150 lightweight aluminum tent support rods at 4 meter high are erected and at the end of some rods a string will suspend a lightweight plastic bowl. The bowl will hold organic vegetable and food produce supplied by local farms and visitors can consume as they please. Since the weight of the food will compress onto the rods, they will bend accordingly and a flower like symbol will appear. The rods are anodized in a golden orange metallic tint which will appear like a golden flower inside the city. A tribute to Chinese superstition of luck and fortune.
As the foods are consumed more within the day the load on the rods will lighten and the curvature bend will be lessen thus creating the “flower” like form to “close” up into a more longitudinal cylinder. People can also enter into the central core of the flower and sit down to sample their food and take a breather.
The idea behind this design is remind the visitor that we are not just individual consumer but a consumer of earth and life can dissipate if we take too much. Of course once a day's vegetable/fruit is finish, the Flower of Life installation can be refilled and open up again. The pavilion also introduce visitors the benefits of organic produce and promote more people to buy naturally grown and non-processed foods.
At night fall all the bowls will be replace by glass candle suspension pods and the flower of life will transform in to an illuminated algae like structure. People can enter into the center core of the structure and receive an experience of transcendence after a day of sampling healthy and naturally tasty organic produce. The pavilion will become an oasis that teaches us to value the basics of nature without artificial manipulation so predominate in our industrialized and mass produced world.
The Flower of Life is more than an exhibition pavilion. It is a metaphorical structure that transforms through consumption and it is a device that give nutrients to us. It symbolize infinite sustainability can only be achieved through consideration and harmony. Balance is to key to the essence of infinity. A city cannot be smart without its people and knowledge makes us smarter. Designing a message into an object can make people learn and smart evolution will create a better city for tomorrow.