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Captivating Rhythms: The Breath-inspired Installation by Nic Brunsdon in Melbourne

2023 (This is) Air Installation / Nic Brunsdon

Ben Hosking

For this year’s National Gallery of Victoria Architecture Commission in Melbourne, Australian architect Nic Brunsdon has designed a colossal sphere that undergoes inflation and deflation periodically throughout the day. The installation expands and contracts in a natural rhythm, symbolizing the ebb and flow of breath.

2023 (This is) Air Installation / Nic Brunsdon

Standing at an impressive height of over 14 meters, the fully inflated spherical structure exudes a sense of uplifting optimism, capturing the imagination of its audience. The project, named (This is) Air, has been developed by Brunsdon, a Perth-based firm, in partnership with Eness, a technology company, with the aim of emulating the innate breathing pattern of humans.

2023 (This is) Air Installation / Nic Brunsdon

As the day progresses, the structure “exhales,” releasing gusts of air and forming cloud-like configurations that gracefully dissipate. It then refills to its full capacity, repeating this mesmerizing cycle. This dynamic display prompts viewers to contemplate their relationship with this essential yet often overlooked element.  By making air visible, audible, and tangible, (This is) Air emphasizes our interconnectedness and dependence on air, a finite resource that is increasingly under threat.

2023 (This is) Air Installation / Nic Brunsdon

The Architecture Commission is an integral part of the 2023 NGV Triennial exhibition, which showcases contemporary art, design, and architecture. This exhibition offers a visually captivating and thought-provoking perspective on the world today. The NGV Triennial is structured around three key thematic pillars: Magic, Matter, and Memory.

2023 (This is) Air Installation / Nic Brunsdon

Brunsdon’s architectural concept aligns with the Matter pillar, which explores the interconnectedness of nature, materials, and the act of creation. It serves as a reminder of the intricate relationship between biology, geology, and physics, and their reliance on natural systems.

2023 (This is) Air Installation / Nic Brunsdon

Throughout the summer months, (This is) Air becomes a hub for a wide range of public programs, performances, and other engaging activities in the NGV Garden. This interactive space invites visitors to further explore and engage with the concept of air, fostering a deeper understanding of its importance in our lives.