Hong Kong, China, 2019

Collaborating producer of LUMENous GARDEN (by FoldHaus Collective) exhibit at PACIFIC PLACE, Hong Kong, China.

  • Client: Swire Properties (HK)

  • Commission arrangement including budget, workflow and contractual details.

  • Exhibit branding (installation name) and oversight on other visual/verbal exhibit branding elements).

  • Exhibit design (conceived and developed design intent rendering for biomorphic-shaped grass-covered mounds that define the exhibit area)

  • authored press release and Art Basel talk description.

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[March 18 - April 14, Pacific Place, Hong Kong]

FoldHaus presents “LUMENous GARDEN” at Pacific Place, Hong Kong, bringing the studio’s large-scale, participatory art from its Burning Man desert origin to the hyper-urban Asian megacity for the first time. 


First held 33 years ago in 1986 as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice, Burning Man has become one of the most influential phenomenons in contemporary American art and culture. Today, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert each year for the week-long festival and erect a temporary metropolis dedicated to radical inclusion, decommodification, self-expression, and self-reliance. During this time, enormous experimental art installations rise out of the dust. Guided by the festival’s philosophy of inclusivity and interactivity, these creations best exemplify the rise of the maker culture, ingenuity, and multidisciplinary collaboration. 


FoldHaus Collective, a prominent Burning Man participant since 2010, transplants the festival’s quintessential spirit of interactivity and wonder to Hong Kong with two of its signature kinetic sculpture work: SHRUMEN LUMEN and BLUMEN LUMEN. 


SHRUMEN LUMEN (2016) is a series of large origami mushrooms with caps that transform from a flat umbrella portobello to a bulbous cap when visitors activate them, creating a surprising and delightful experience. Shrumen Lumen was featured - and was one of the most popular exhibits - in the recent “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute’s Renwick Gallery, in Washington, D.C. The Hong Kong appearance will be immediately followed by another institutional show in Cincinnati Art Museum in April 2019.


BLUMEN LUMEN (2014) is a series of giant origami flower sculptures that tower high above the human height. They magically bloom in the presence of people and move with the wind.


The installation in Pacific Place’s Garden Court features two SHRUMENs and one BLUMEN, creating a luminous - or LUMENous - garden that invites everyone to experience the pulsating, thriving spirit of the contemporary maker culture.


“At Burning Man, there are no outsiders. 

Everyone is part of the experience.” 

- Nora Atkinson, Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, Smithsonian American Art Museum


How do they work

The SHRUMEN and BLUMEN sculptures respond to human interaction. As participants step on the footpads located beneath the sculptures, they gently expand and contract. In a low light environment, thousands of embedded LEDs glowing through the translucent outer skin and create a spectacle of colors in the surrounding area. Nearly every one of the hundreds of parts for each sculpture were custom made by the FoldHaus team.



FoldHaus is an art collective based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Led by Joerg Student and Jesse Silver, FoldHaus creates interactive experiences at the intersection of art, engineering, and technology that bring people together. Many of its members work at, or used to work at, the design firm IDEO, where members spend weekends and evenings building and creating art. 


Each art piece is based on extensive experimentation with different fold patterns to create the desired shape and movement, as well as multiple prototypes to develop the supporting structures and digital interaction. FoldHaus designed and built its first piece, a yurt, for Burning Man in 2010. In 2014, it created Blumen Lumen, followed by Shrumen Lumen in 2016. Most recently, the group presented RadiaLumia during Burning Man 2018, a nod to the intricate mineral skeletons of radiolaria, a protozoa that covered Black Rock desert when it was still part of the ocean floor.


“We build experiences that are both poetic and robotic.”


“We are truly honored and humbled to have our work on display in Hong Kong for the international audience.

The reason for that isn’t pride or the notoriety, though. It’s because FoldHaus is a collective of all volunteers who graciously give their time to

create novel new works of art, to learn new skills, to teach others, and to see what it possible to create with a group of people and a united vision.

We hope to be a model, and an inspiration for would-be artists everywhere, and to show that beautiful,

intriguing works can come not just from anywhere, but anyone.” 

- FoldHaus