Solar Bell Is A Flying Sculpture Powered By The Wind

Tomas Saraceno's artwork floats across the land and is lighter than air.

Photo: Bart Maat

When artist Tomas Saraceno isn't making cloud cities and vast cloudscapes for people to clamber around on, he's making sculptures that can fly through the air, powered by the wind and sun. It's one of the artworks that have been commissioned to accompany the Maasvlakte 2 project, an extension to the port of Rotterdam, taking place in the Netherlands.

Photo: Bart Maat

Since the project began five years ago artists have been asked to interpret the process of turning the reclaimed land into a new port and Saraceno's project is the latest and last of these. Called Solar Bell the artwork floats across the land lifted by the wind in an experimental design that's made from cutting edge lightweight materials—carbon tubing, thin solar panels—and technologies which make it lighter than air.

Photo: Bart Maat

The structure is based on a design by Alexander Graham Bell, his four-sided triangular pyramid, and was built with help from the Aerospace Engineering department at TU Delft university in the Netherlands—and looks like a giant silvery space kite. "With the ability to float, the traditional boundaries will be crossed between earth and space, between art, architecture and science.” Saraceno says

The sculpture is a prototype with the idea being that perhaps one day a much larger version could be made, a "flying plaza" (below), which people can sit or stand in, and is lifted entirely be wind power. It's a continuation of the ideas and themes around renewable energies and sustainable environmental models that Saraceno explores in his Cloud Cities series.

[via Inhabitat]