Kinetic Rain by ART + COM

German design collective ART+COM have installed over a thousand rising and falling metal raindrops in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

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Kinetic Rain was commissioned as a calming centrepiece for the airport’s departure hall.

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Suspended by steel wires, the raindrops are computer-controlled to move up and down in choreographed patterns. The dancing installation is in two parts, each comprising 608 copper-covered aluminium raindrops.

In the course of refurbishment works ART+COM was commissioned by Changi Airport Group, Singapore, to create a signature art installation for the Departure Check-in hall of Terminal 1. The sculpture aims to be a source of identity for its location, and provides a moment for passengers to contemplate and reflect despite the busy travelling atmosphere.

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Kinetic Rain is composed of two parts, each consisting of 608 rain droplets made of lightweight aluminum covered with copper. Suspended from thin steel ropes above the two opposing escalators, each droplet is moved precisely by a computer-controlled motor hidden in the hall’s ceiling. The entire installation spans an area of more than 75 square metres and spreads over 7.3 metres in height.

Kinetic Rain follows a 15-minute computationally designed choreography where the two parts move together in unison, sometimes mirroring, sometimes complementing, and sometimes responding to each other. In addition, several spotlight sources mounted below the installation create a play of shadows on the terminal’s ceiling as they illuminate the movement of the rain droplets. German media technology firm MKT did the mechatronic implementation of Kinetic Rain.

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Client: Changi Airport Group, Singapore
Number of droplets: 1216
Number of motors: 1216
Material of droplet: aluminum covered with copper
Weight of droplet: 180 grams
Weight of overall installation: 2.4 tons
Droplets travel distance from ceiling to lowest point: 7.3 metres
Size: Each part covers 9.80 x 4 metres
Project duration: 20 months, from August 2010 till April 2012
Technology used: Custom industrial mechanical engineering parts and custom code, combined with a lot of creativity

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ART+COM was founded in 1988 in Berlin by a group of artists, designers and developers who were sparked by the belief that the computer was more than a tool. Back then they realised the technology’s potential to become a universal communication medium. The group set out to practically explore its artistic, scientific and technological aspects and to put these aspects to use. Their spectrum of works ranges from artistic and design projects through to technological innovations and inventions, which have as a whole pioneered media-based spatial communication design and art in the last 25 years.

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