Given the size of our studios here at The Bottle Yard, we often receive some rather unusual requests from local producers working in other parts of the creative industries, who need space for their larger-than-life projects!
This week we were delighted to be able to provide space for Bristol-based robotics studio Air Giants to test-drive their new, unique Unfurl installation before it sets off on tour around the UK.
Unfurl is a beautiful garden consisting of nine interactive robotic plants made from fabric and pumped full of air. Until this week they have been under development in the Air Giants workshop, but on Wednesday they were inflated to their full glory in Tank House 4 at The Bottle Yard Studios, towering up to five meters tall.
The plants use special biomimetic technology to interact with people and each other, creating sounds and changing colours in response to people moving and talking around them.
The installation is backed by West of England Combined Authority investment, and Metro Mayor Dan Norris visited to watch the engineers ‘unfurl’ the robo-plants to their full height for the first time.
Air Giants directors Richard Sewell, Robert Nixdorff and Emma Powell were on hand to explain how Air Giants is partnering with Bristol Robotics Lab to carry out brand-new research.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris and The Bottle Yard’s Laura Aviles
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “It’s not everyday that you get to say hello to a five-metre-high robotic plant. But it’s projects like these that just go to show how innovative and rich with creative talent the West of England really is.
“I’m proud that a grant from the Combined Authority I lead is helping the region’s roboticists, puppeteers and other creative people get back on their feet after the pandemic and face the future with confidence and boldness.
“Creativity and innovation runs through our region’s veins and I’m proud to back the talented local people working in our truly world-leading creative industries.”
Air Giants director Emma Powell said: “This programme from the Combined Authority has given us time to reflect and improve our business processes. Meeting and working with other innovative creatives to discuss the challenges of being a creative business post-pandemic has enabled us to move forward our projects, including our Unfurl installation, with confidence.”
Founded in 2020, Air Giants is a creative robotic studio comprising a small team of roboticists, puppeteers and software engineers. Inspired by natural movement, it creates enormous and expressive creatures and interactive spaces using cutting-edge robotic technologies. Whether with towering tortoises, pneumatics newts or the towering plants of its Unfurl installation, the team aims to bring joy and wonder to large audiences.
The garden will be visiting festivals in London, Leicestershire, Norwich and the Malvern Hills throughout the summer.
For more information visit www.airgiants.co.uk.