Only Breath - CODAworx

Only Breath

Submitted by Torus Torus Studios

Client: Science Museum Group

Location: London, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2024

Project Team

Concept, Design, Fabrication and Installation

Alexandra Carr, Colin Rennie

Torus Torus Studios


Science Museum, London

Science Museum Group

Art Consultant

Renee Pfister Gallery and Art Consultancy


Buro Happold

Motion Control

Hepco Motion and Hepco Automation


Architectural Metalworkers Ltd


WH Scott Lifting


Unknown Works


Five meter, kinetic sculpture in steel and wood, ‘Only Breath’ was commissioned by The Science Museum, London, as the centrepiece of the Energy Revolution: Adani Green Energy Gallery, and serves as a metaphor for humanity’s responsibility in combating climate change. Comprising of 23 moving stainless steel frames containing 92 windblown native timber panels, the sculpture moves slowly and gracefully, initiating from an almost imperceptible start, gradually speeding up, then slowing again to an almost imperceptible stop. The underside of the panels features subtle two-way mirrors, forming a concave lens reminiscent of solar arrays, reflecting and focusing on the viewer. The sculpture’s cyclical movement, akin to natural phenomena such as the nyctinasty of blooming flowers and circadian rhythms, encourages contemplation on our interconnectedness with the environment. At the core of ‘Only Breath’ lies a fusion of art and science, incorporating principles of biomimicry and renewable energy technology. The sculpture’s tessellating structure, derived from the voronoi algorithm and phyllotaxis spiral, mirrors the efficiency of organic forms, highlighting the importance of nature-inspired sustainable energy production


The primary goal was to integrate the commission as a unifying focal point for the gallery but also encourage the visitor to look outwards to consider future energy options on display: We responded to the radial design of the gallery through the cyclical inward and outward projection of the kinetic elements.

The work needed to reflect the dynamic balance of energy systems; global energy systems are in constant flux, and maintaining balance at macro- and micro-scales is essential if energy supply is to meet energy demand: We responded by designing a motion that would open and close, throughout the day. There is an embedded Fibonacci spiral within the layout of the radial cells that emerge from a central point, echoing forms found at a macro and micro scale within nature.

Emphasising the human dimensions of energy systems was a concern for the commissioner: We made the artwork rest for a time at position that created a proximate parabolic form that focused the reflections of the underside mirrors in towards the central viewer, providing a moment of contemplation of our individual roles in combating climate change.


Once the Rhino CAD model and parametric Grasshopper scripting algorithm was completed by Torus Torus Studios, Buro Happold advised on loadings, structures, finite element analysis and fixing systems. Using the initial structural calculations for the open and closed positions of the sculpture TTS produced a 1:5 scale model for client approval to move into fabrication phase. Motion control specialists Hepco Motion and Hepco Automation specified parts and engineered the servo control system that produced the sinusoidal opening and closing motion. Hepco also designed a touchscreen human machine interface system to allow for speed and timing adjustments to be made as a set of motion profiles for the client to choose from for different events. 5 and 3 axis waterjet cutting of the frame elements was completed by TMC waterjet. Assembly and tack welding of the frames was in-house and then Architectural Metalworkers Ltd welded the frames and structural elements to specified standards. Windblown wood panels were prepared and cut by FliCNC.

Additional Information

Only Breath was commissioned by The Science Museum, London, as the centrepiece of the Energy Revolution: Adani Green Energy Gallery. The gallery examines the rapid energy transition and decarbonisation needed globally to limit climate change. The gallery encourages visitors to reflect on past energy transitions and the pioneers who dreamed what might be possible, while imagining the energy use that will shape our low carbon future. Only Breath draws inspiration from the Rumi poem of the same name, symbolising the world's breath, the carbon cycle, and our journey towards sustainability. From its symbolic spiral motif to its innovative use of two-way mirrors, recycled, recyclable, and reclaimed materials, sourced locally to minimise environmental impact, the sculpture embodies the principles of holistic thinking advocated for in the Energy Revolution Gallery. Standing as a call to action for global environmental stewardship, Only Breath reminds visitors of the delicate balance we must maintain in our pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future.