Concrete block at New York art exhibition

"We wanted to make something that everyone said was impossible," said Lonneke Gordijn, from Studio Drift... and the task of making the impossible "possible" was given to Airstage.

The 4 x 2 x 2 meter kinetic sculpture is not only an impressive artistic statement, it also set a challenge to our creative team to develop brand-new technologies.

The two biggest challenges were that the propulsion units should be invisible and that the concrete block should be able to float freely in the booth space.

A total of 24 impeller motors were fitted just inside the holes on the sides of the block, thus making the newly developed propellor rotors invisible.

The block was tracked using special cameras that could identify the exact position of the blocks' 8 infra red tracking LED's up to 120 times per second. This tracking data was then fed into a main computer that coordinated and controlled the exact pre-programmed flight path as the block slowly flew through it's pre-programmed flight path.

Using an airbrushed special lightweight foam to give a solid look to the outside, a tailor-made helium sleeve was fitted inside the block. Once inflated with helium, the massive structure had a weight of just 10 grams.

  • Location: The Armory Show, Pier 92, New York

  • Date: March 2017

  • Summary of work: R&D, construction, onsite installation and programming

  • Client: Studio Drift, Amsterdam