In 2020, the University of Bristol in Bristol, UK, saw the installation of a fascinating and unique public art piece.
Created by artist Luke Jerram, this facility not only boasts stunning visuals, but also offers a bench inside, allowing visitors to sit back and immerse themselves in what feels like a colorful rainbow conservatory.
The story behind this art installation began in September 2019, when Luke Jerram was approached by Milan-based production company 3D Produzioni. They requested an artwork to celebrate the 600th anniversary of Brunelleschi’s dome of Florence Cathedral (Duomo di Firenze). The artwork needed to be at least 5 meters in height and fabricated quickly for a temporary presentation, with its design and creation documented for a program.
Luke developed several concepts, but the final commissioned artwork is based on a spiraling lamella dome structure. This dome is cut in half, with the two halves placed parallel to each other, resembling the two palms of hands coming together in prayer.
While the Florence Cathedral serves as a temple for contemplating God, this new artwork is designed for contemplating nature. Suspended in the apex of the dome is an Extinction Bell, which tolls randomly 150-200 times a day, symbolizing the number of species lost worldwide every 24 hours. This estimate of species loss comes from a 2007 UN Environmental Programme report. The Extinction Bell raises awareness of biodiversity loss, making audible events that are invisible to us and occurring simultaneously across the world in multiple habitats.
Experience the breathtaking visuals of this unique public art installation and reflect on the pressing issue of biodiversity loss, as you sit inside this rainbow conservatory at the University of Bristol.