Architectural Installation

Murmurations tries visualizing relationship between a group and the individual by mimicking a swarm of starlings which are migratory birds. The artwork poetically illustrates how humans strive to live autonomously within societies defined by rules and conventions.
Status – Completed | Team – Khushbu Davda, Seeja Sudhakaran

Murmurations Installation designed for Breathing Cities Program for Kansai Nerolac was unveiled as a Public Art Installation for the beautiful city of Chandigarh. The core intent of this project was to embellish the first planned city of India. The brief emphasized on an idea – to develop an artform. There was a need of progression in the city of Chandigarh’s iconic architecture and landscape evolved over the years. Looking at the self-standing iconic Matka, the flocking birds seemed like a perfect complement to it. It was though a challenge to bio mimic and replicate the notion of swarming or murmurations into an architectural intervention that would stand the test of time.

Our aim while designing this installation was to make sure that it speaks about sustainability not only conceptually, but visually as well. The concept of Biomimicry was introduced in order to highlight the sustainable factor in this design, adding to the beautiful lush green context of the site. The primary concept of this artwork was to reflect on the concerns of migration of workers during the pandemic as well as designing a perfect amalgamation with the lush green context of site surroundings. 

Basic models of flocking behaviour are controlled by three simple rules: Separation – avoid crowding neighbours (short range repulsion), Alignment – steer towards average heading of neighbours, Cohesion – steer towards average position of neighbours (long range attraction). With these three simple rules, the flock moves in an extremely realistic way, creating complex motion and interaction that would be extremely hard to create otherwise.

During the design process, varying heights between the ranges of 5 feet to 18 feet was finalized for the structure. To achieve the look of floating birds, the maximum diameter of the pipes was decided to be 2 inches. To actualize dynamically fluid representation of murmuration, steel was the only material that would provide longevity and quality. The artwork is a nosedive of flock, of over 300 birds, covering 2000 sq. ft. of area. 

After the analysis of a series of materials with high efficiency and sustainable compatibilities, steel was finalized. Steel ensured the tough stand for the artwork to be achieved with such height variations. To precisely reflect the swarming pattern of migratory birds, we developed a mathematical model and recreated the geometries via algorithms. For the project analysis and modifications, 3D modelling, Grasshopper Rhino was used to achieve multiple geometries. It also helped with analysing exact calculations for achieving the murmuration pattern. The wind analysis as well as geometric optimization has been done using CFD analysis. The detailing out was done via other various rendering softwares.