in collaboration with Luftwerk, MAS studio and 9 other students
Homan Square, Chicago, IL
bLUMEN (blume : German for ‘flower.’ | lumen : Latin for ‘light.’)
bLUMEN is a site-specific sculptural pavilion combining art, architecture, and technology to create a flourishing plant-growth environment that engages and connects with the Homan Square community in Chicago. With bLUMEN, we envision how design can transform and activate sites into fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and social interaction.
Modular in form, the temporary pavilion is formed by six 10-foot tall hexagonal steel structures connected to one another, forming an urban canopy. The canopy acts as the physical framework for fifteen interconnected horticulture LED grow lights that help grow a small selection of plants and vegetables. With access to healthy and fresh food being an issue in the Homan Square and North Lawndale communities, bLUMEN focuses on food as a core issue to gather the community and help the effort of other local initiatives working on nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
The asymmetric steel structure organizes and activates the currently underutilized site, creating a new public space for Homan Square residents and visitors. With its pink glow generated by the grow lights, bLUMEN extends the daily use of the space, allowing for temporary and seasonal interventions to take place day and night. Whether to host established and existing programs or new and spontaneous interventions, we hope bLUMEN becomes a new and exciting gathering place for the Homan Square community and all Chicago residents.
A temporary intervention designed for bLUMEN was an installation where herbal flower tea bags were hung from the canopy as an interactive installation where people were invited to take these bags as a memento to further emphasize the idea of healing and being healthy, not only physically but also physiologically and spiritually healthy and promote the idea of sharing whilst being part of a community.
Photography : David Schalliol.
Aerial photography : Tom Harris Photography.
Structural Engineer : Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Metal Fabrication : Active Alloys.
Partners : School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), SAIC’s Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration, Chicago Park District, and the Foundation for Homan Square.