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Future Flower by Tonkin Liu

Peta Doherty discovers an architectural duo exploring a flourishing future for energy.

Future Flower by Tonkin Liu


April 28th, 2010

A metallic 14-metre high wind-powered flower by London-based architectural duo Tonkin Liu, has been erected on the banks of the Mersey River in Cheshire, England.

The Future Flower, made of 120 galvanised mild steel petals holding clusters of low voltage LED lights, symbolises the beginning of a regeneration project that will see 200 acres of derelict industrial space transformed into a commercial and tourism zone. 

The metallic flower represents the meeting point of industrial and environmental landscapes – wind-powered lighting demonstrating a future in energy efficiency.

The lights are powered by three small wind turbines attached to the flower’s stem, while the intensity of the lighting is controlled by the power of the wind.

Winds of 8 km or more produce varying shades of red and a windless day reflects the colours of the sky.

The flower was commissioned by North West Development Agency after an international competition for the design to energise the Widnes Waterfront project.

The design reflects the ethos of the architects Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin whose urban environmental projects are inspired by a search for the “primal beginning” of project.

The flower represents the first stage in the development of the project and an intersection between environment and urban potential.

Construction of the Future Flower involved collaboration between sustainability engineers XCO2, structural engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan and art-fabricator Mike Smith Studio.

Tonkin Liu

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future flower

future flower

future flower

future flower

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