Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland - 2002

The Blur Building
The Blur Building was built for the Swiss Expo 2002 on Lake Neuchatel. It is an architecture of atmosphere. The lightweight tensegrity structure measures 300 feet wide by 200 feet deep by 75 feet high. The primary building material is indigenous to the site, water. Water is pumped from the lake, filtered, and shot as a fine mist through 31,500 high-pressure mist nozzles. A smart weather system reads the shifting climactic conditions of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and processes the data in a central computer that regulates water pressure.
Upon entering the fog mass, visual and acoustic references are erased, leaving only an optical "white-out" and the "white-noise" of pulsing nozzles. Blur is an anti-spectacle. Contrary to immersive environments that strive for high-definition visual fidelity with ever-greater technical virtuosity, Blur is decidedly low-definition: there is nothing to see but our dependence on vision itself.


How they obtained the blur effect

the saturation of the air with moisture, which produces
the visible mist effect, depends on a number of physical
environmental conditions.
these parameters include the speed and direction of the
wind, the environmental temperature and the
atmospheric humidity :
- the higher the temperature, the greater the amount of
moisture required to produce the necessary degree of
- when the air has a moisture level of, for example,
75 percent, the desired effect can be achieved by the
addition of only 25 percent.
- the volume of the space determines the output quantity
necessary for the saturation of the air with moisture.
in calm (windless) conditions the volume corresponds
to the size of the space. in windy conditions, however,
the determining volume is proportionate to the amount
of air moved by the wind through the specific space.
thus it increases with increasing wind speed.
- since mist hangs in the air, it moves in the direction of the
wind. starting at the point where the water leaves the jet,
a white stripe becomes visible. as soon as the air is no longer
saturated with moisture, this white stripe disappears.
at low temperatures with simultaneous high air moisture,
the stripe is virtually always visible. when the conditions are
reversed, it disappears almost immediately.
- putting the cloud into operation under consideration of all
these meteorological conditions is a highly complex technical
proceeding. appropriate adjustments can be made on various
levels, e.g. the placement of the spray mechanisms,
the number of jets, planning of different spraying areas.
the optimisation of these measures is carried out with the help
of a computerised weather station that supplies the necessary
nformation about the relevant parameters.
this information is analysed by the computer and subsequently
used to determine the adjustment of the spraying on the basis
of conclusions reached in connection with tests carried out the
year before.



Some years ago I happened to visit the guest appartment of Fornasetti. It is situated at the end of a Milanese garden, overgrown by rododendrons and rubberplants. I was happy to find these pictures on the net, as my visit was at night and without a camera. The main building houses the Fornasetti design workshops. I'll post some pictures of these mysterious rooms some other day. [meanwhile, here is a link to the house!]
The totally interesting thing about the guest house is the combination of new and old, all with an extreme eye for detail. The sense of classicism, use of color and style, made the visit a fysical experience.


One enters the appt from the garden, into the cum newspaper / butterfly overthrown / patterned kitchen and dining area.

   Old paintings from the Fornasetti workshop furnish an antique atmosphere.
Butterflies seem to be going everywhere... 
A few steps lead up to a sittingroom / bedroom. The idea of classical columns is provided by some old engravings of Roman triumphal columns.


 The bathroom of which I hope to add some pictures one day, was in black and gold tiles, all of fornasetti's well known ornamentation suns and faces...

Update end 2011: a good friend of mine had the opportunity to stay in the Fornasetti appt's just recently. Here some iPhone shots he send me...

On the site of Fornasetti there are great pictures of the house to be seen, although the atmosphere is, to my idea, not well captured. link to the house


Sculptor Patrick Dougherty has been creating stick-work since 1982. He has exhibited all over the world, from the swamps of Ireland to American city centres. The scale and beauty of his work has kept him in constant demanD. There are films of his works op both YouTube and Vimeo.
Present absences: A peripatetic video of a temporary site-specific sculpture by Patrick Dougherty from Ian Russell on Vimeo.