Client: British Land
Location: London, United Kingdom
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $250,000
Jason Bruges Studio (JBS)
Variegation Index is an interactive digital artwork created for British Land and located in the lobby of 20 Triton Street in Regent’s Place, London. The installation attempts to disrupt the boundary between public and private space by using biomimicry to increase the permeability between outside and inside. In an exploration of the link between nature and wellbeing, Variegation Index softens the existing corporate interior with 293 digital ‘cells’ that cascade across the wall and expand the idea of plants giving feedback to their environment through photosynthesis.
Taking inspiration from NDVI cameras, a specialised system that farmers use to monitor the health of their crops, an array of plants placed below the artwork are discreetly being ‘observed’. Our custom-built version of the camera uses a combination of infrared and RGB light to measure chlorophyll levels within the leaves. This information is then translated into a dual-perspective real-time data visualisation appearing as an oscillating language of light and numbers across the cellular canvas within the lobby.
Variegation Index sets a precedence for artwork that deliberately mimics biological and environmental systems to enhance wellbeing, deepen our connection with nature and soften urban settings.
Variegation Index was guided by British Land's mission to revitalise their lobby by transforming it into a place people want to inhabit rather than just pass through. The goal was to establish a more welcoming, social lobby environment that has a sense of community and offers some respite and tranquillity within the heart of London. The artwork builds on previous works produced through the studio which explore digitising natural phenomena, touching on the relationship between people, nature and themes of wellness.
British Land's vision brought real strength to the design process and pushed JBS to create their first artwork that directly incorporates planting and uses living matter as a vital part of the installation.
Within the Studio, JBS designers and creative technologists worked closely to understand how to create a custom NDVI camera and to determine how the data collected will be visualised within the lobby. The primary challenge was to develop custom software that synchronises all the component processes so the moments of reading and translating the information happen simultaneously. The process involved multidisciplinary collaboration and numerous rounds of prototyping and testing within the studio before any final fabrication was undertaken.