Imaginarium | कल्पतरु
Ahmadabad, India \ अहमदाबाद, भारत
Client: The City Arts Project, UNM Foundation
Partners in Charge/ Lead: Sarvesh Singh, Alisha Raman
Curated by: Vyom Mehta
Collaborators/ Team: Prakhar, Anjali, Sreenidhi, Pranali, Garvi, Austin, Raman, Lalit, Murtaza, all our friends at Gulbai Tekra & Spacica Workshop
Location: Ahmedabad, India
Status: Built/ Deconstructed
Tags: innovation, indigenous, steel, wood, concrete, alternate, culture, urban, sustainable, housing + interiors
Can an ethereal labyrinth float gently on thin air?
For the Ahmedabad City Arts festival, the aerial roots of a Banyan tree inspired us. It materialized as an experiment between Deconstructivism and craft systems.
It is well-known that gridshells can take on many curved shapes and forms. These are structurally firm when built on the ground. We sought to challenge this with a simple question. Would it still be stable when lifted several feet of the datum?
For it to levitate, the entire structure had to be made columnless. Spontaneously, we borrowed tensile support from the surrounding buildings. The only challenge was the anchoring part. Puncturing any existing walls with nails or screws was strictly prohibited by authorities. So, we designed custom details that proved to be non-invasive.
For eons, trees have shared significance and spiritual meaning across various cultures, all over the world. In Norse mythology, the Yggdrasil is a mythical tree that connects with all Nine Worlds.
Across the Indian sub-continent, ‘Kalpataru’ or the Tree of Life has been a timeless metaphor for peace, wisdom and enlightenment, extolled in iconography and literature as the wish-fulfilling Divine Tree.
The Banyan is the ancient tree under which the Siddhartha became the Bodhisattva, thus attaining enlightenment as the Buddha. In some cultures it is symbolised by the deep-rooted Shami Tree, in others by the versatile Coconut, but universally recognised as the Banyan, amply providing for human needs, silently across eons.
The sculpture levitates as a mindful place, nestled in a courtyard within the Knowledge Consortium. Invoked by data, music and light, it invites people to play with its softness. Those who explore the depths of our forest encounter tiny fruits of shimmer. Copper bells/ ghungroos echo across the floating labrynth.