From the Buddhist concept of completeness in Nirvana to James Hilton’s Shangri La, a utopian place of perfection, to the biblical depiction of heaven, to Dante’s aethereal and so on, man has always strived to find the sublime beauty.
Philip Beesley describes himself as a sculptor who is dedicated to building prototypes for the future. But I would say he is one of the last dreamers and a maker of sublime worlds – worlds that are right here, on earth, accessible to anyone.
Beesley is an architect, installation artist, designer, sculptor, leader of leading the Scaffold discipline stream within the Living Architecture Systems Group, which brings together researchers and industry partners in a multidisciplinary research cluster dedicated to developing built environments with qualities that come close to life. His stories are as intricate and interesting as his work, and a glimpse into his thoughts is as walking through a fantastic universe.
Beesley treats not only creation but also technology as an endearing element, with its own identity, behaviour and mission – such an example is Sentient Chamber, a free-standing pavilion that combines three new systems of structure, electronics and software controls. Designed as a testbed for ongoing research that combines the disciplines of architecture and visual art, computer science and engineering, and synthetic biology, the sentient element mixes with human sensibility and creates not a space, but an experience.
Be it Breathing Columns, such as in Hylozoic Grove, or wearable pieces of technology, such as Between the Lines, done in collaboration with Iris van Herpen, it is visible throughout the work of Philip Beesley that his meta-worlds are what dreams are made of – be it machinic dreams, digital dreams, of man-made dreams. However, isn’t it nice when dreams can come to life?