The Journey of a Drop


©SusanSmart – It certainly looks like a dramatic fall

If you have been following the London Design Festival 2012, by now you must have heard about the installation by Rolf Sachs at the V&A.

I read with interest how conceptual designer Rolf Sachs presentes a site-specific installation for the V&A’s rarely seen before Henry Cole Staircase. Playfully responding to the museum’s architecture, Sachs creates a visually arresting and emotionally engaging spectacle with the focus on the dramatic drop….from the images, it looks pretty dramatic.

So….emerging from his inherent curiosity and experimental personality, Rolf Sachs invites the observer on a sensory journey. Apparently spectators are drawn into the mysterious performance and a voyage of discovery that beckons the eye upward. From the soaring heights of the atrium, three lab- like instruments individually drop primary coloured ink in measured intervals.

Starting slowly, with scientific precision, each measured drop quickly gains pace. As the speed gathers momentum, the drop becomes more spontaneous in its nature, before falling into the depths and landing into a vast tank of illuminated liquid with unexpected results.

On impact the individual drops explode into the liquid creating organic transient clouds of ever changing shapes and colour. Yet once more taken by surprise, the observer sees these clouds mingle and merge until inexplicably disappearing… until the next show.

Understated at first glance, the seemingly simple notion of a drop falling has been masterfully designed using finely-tuned machinery and specially developed liquids and pigments.

Intended to touch all the senses, the apparent silent sounds of the drops hitting the water is captured by an underwater microphone and amplified like an echo throughout the space.

Encouraging further interaction, binoculars are at hand opposite the tank, to witness the complete journey of the drops from a variety of perspectives, intensifying the connection between the art and the observer. I better not tell NJD as she is dying to use her funky Nikon binoculars for weeks now and this would be such a perfect place to use it.

We know that Rolf Sachs’ work takes inspiration from everyday objects he believes to have soul and character but this is the first time I read carefully about his work.

Perhaps because he moves across art and design, objects, spaces and visual medium, all of which are approached with his playful sense of humour. Or maybe I got drawn because the essence of his work encourages human interaction, and emotional and sensory reactions.

Whatever it is, I love the fact that his ideas, prototypes and creations showcase how he fuses design with the arts.

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