Welp, now we’ve seen everything. Just last week, a new cafe opened in Romania called Enigma that claims to be “the world’s first kinetic steampunk bar.” We have no way to verify if that’s true, but it certainly looks impressive from these photos, if you’re into that sort of thing. A slightly terrifying humanoid robot with a plasma lamp cranium bicycles by the door, and a variety of kinetic artworks churn and rotate on both the ceiling and walls. Watch the video to take a peek inside, and if you’re in town you can visit Enigma Cafe at Enigma at Iuliu Maniu, Nr 12, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Photos by Zoly Zelenyak from The 6th-Sense Interiors. (via Steampunk Tendencies)
Containing over 400 precisely machined gears, screws, and aesthetic elements, Derek Hugger’s latest kinetic sculpture Colibri mimics the motion of a hummingbird in flight. Though the motions of flying are unmistakable, the piece has much more in common with a clock than a bird. He shares about the piece:
Every element of motion has been completely mechanized, from the beating wings to the flaring tail. Intricate systems of linkages and cams bring the sculpture to life with a continuous flow of meticulously timed articulations. As each mechanism has been linked to the next, Colibri cycles through its complete range of motions by the simple turn of a crank. This project took me roughly 700 hours and contains about 400 parts.
You can see many more of his moving artworks on his website, and in a refreshingly rare move he also sells detailed instructions of how to make them in his shop. (via The Automata Blog)
Since graduating in 1974 from Boston University with a degree in physics, artist David C. Roy has been fascinated by the motion and mechanics of kinetic sculptures. Roy is a self-taught woodworker who designs limited edition wall-mounted sculptures powered by various mechanical wind-up mechanisms without the aid of electricity. Each piece can run for about 5-18 hours unassisted on a single wind, with his latest piece Dimensions capable of whirling around for a whopping 40+ hours. From his Connecticut studio Roy has produced over 150 one-of-a-kind designs over the last thirty years, many of which he currently sells as editions through his website. He’s also gone to great lengths to film many of his sculptures which you can watch on his Youtube channel. (via Booooooom)
Model train enthusiast James Risner decided to turn several toy locomotive sets into a contemporary kinetic art installation of sorts by creating an infinite loop. The seven linked trains can travel forward or backward at surprisingly quick speed, creating a hypnotic spiral of of motion. I wonder if this could be scaled to a Metropolis II level? (via Laughing Squid)
In a 21st century take on the traditional Zen sand garden, artist Bruce Shapiro invented the Sisyphus Machine, an elaborate kinetic drawing machine that uses magnets to drag rolling steel marbles through a thin layer of sand to create complicated mandala-like patterns. Shapiro, who was once a practicing physician, has spent the better part of 25 years experimenting with computerized motion control and many of his Sisyphus Machines have been installed in locations around the world including a large device in Switzerland back in 2003 and at Questacon in Canberra, Australia in 2013. It appears the artist is currently working on a tabletop consumer version and if you’re interested you can sign up for his mailing list here. (via Core77, Fast Company)
Several types of flowers are known to open and close for reasons of defense or energy conservation. This evolutionary mechanism, called nyctinasty, inspired Studio DRIFT to design the Shylight, a kinetic light fixture that opens dramatically during a 30 foot (9 meter) fall. The motion mimics the same action of a blooming flower or the billowing of a parachute. A collection of Shylights were just permanently installed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and you can see them in action in the video above. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)
Although powered by simple rotary engines, these kinetic sculptures by Netherlands-based sculptor Jennifer Townley are dizzying in complexity. Repetitive patterns twist, merge, and cascade as individually sculpted elements rotate on a single axis, an intricate fusion of art and mathematics. From Townley’s artist statement:
The works derive from her fascination with science, with an emphasis on physics, engineering and mathematics. Geometric patterns in Islamic art or mathematical drawings of Dutch artist M. C. Escher often serve as an inspiration. Images where lines and figures match each other so perfectly they could be repeated indefinitely. This infinity, regularity and obedience is what Townley also finds fascinating about mechanical machines; they are robust, strenuous and seemingly immortal. She is captivated by how a machine can convert a simple circular motion (rotary engine) into a very complicated nonlinear or chaotic movement pattern.