Warde Art Installation Brings Giant Blooming Flowers To Jerusalem

When we saw the large-scale HQ Architects installation WARDE— giant flower lamps in the heart of Jerusalem that bloom when people stand under them– we absolutely fell in love.

The inflatable flowers were installed in in the center of Jerusalem’s Vallero Square– huge anemones of a deep carnation red. The four flower fixtures– each thirty feet high and wide, stake out the entry of a neighboring market on a popular tram line. While beautiful, they were also functional, put in place as part of an effort to improve the city center and bring attention to the urban space.

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Instead of working against the existing conditions of a disregarded urban space, WARDE aimed to bring an element of surprise and awe to the space, attempting to overcome reality and change the space aesthetically. The flowers could be seen from every angle on the square, and are truly incredible in that they react to civilians around them.

“We tried to look for something that would tie the urban space together, and flowers seem to be the only thing that everybody can agree upon.”

They open and shut according to foot traffic, provide shade for passers by, and open for as long as a person stays underneath. In this way, they artfully demonstrate the principle of biomimicry— a movement in design that aims to bring nature back into the modern lifestyle. The WARDE flowers also act as a sort of alarm system, inflating fully when the tram is about to arrive so that people walking around would know. We asked a few quick questions of WARDE’s principle architect Erez Ella and got some interesting answers, below.

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GC: Why did you decide on flowers?

EE: We tried to look for something that would tie the urban space together, and flowers seem to be the only thing that everybody can agree upon.

GC: Are the anemone personally meaningful to you?

EE: Not really, although I always liked them and appreciate that they bloom in places that you’d hardly expect– like the Negev desert, where they keep appearing every year after the rain.

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GC: Is nature important to your design philosophy?

EE: Of course. In a way we, as architects, have been educated to always struggle with nature; we protect from it, by constructing we are pushing it away and most of the time we are trying to create a poor imitation of it. I think we need to understand while designing that we’re affecting nature by acknowledging that we should be able to.

GC: Are you surprised by peoples’ reactions to the installation?

EE: I was at the beginning, but than I realized that people always adopt fast and love (or hate) the unusual. So the strong reactions to the flowers is what we were looking for.

GC: Jerusalem is a complicated city with many layers– Did that have any influence in the idea of the flowers?

EE: You are right, every thing you do in Jerusalem is political– you cannot avoid it. We tried hard to find something that all different groups in the population could identify with and react to without touching on sensitive points of religion, territory, etc. Every society thinks of flowers as a joyful thing.

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