Murmurations, an architectural installation by Studio Emergence at Matka Chowk, tries to portray the dynamic between a group and individual by imitating a swarm of migratory birds. The installation designed for the Breathing Cities Program for Kansai Nerolac was unveiled as a Public Art Installation for the beautiful city of Chandigarh.

Project Name: Murmurations, 2022
Project Category (Architecture / Interior Design / Product Design): Installation
Project Location: Matka Chowk, Chandigarh
Project Size: Built Area: 10,000 sq.ft
Project Status (Built / Design Proposal / Competition): Completed
Architect / Designer: Studio Emergence

Murmurations by Studio Emergence - Sheet3
©Studio Emergence

The artwork is inspired by a flock of migrant starlings which metaphorically illustrates how humans strive to live autonomously within societies defined by rules and conventions. The core intent of this project is to embellish the first planned city in India – Chandigarh and emphasise on an idea of developing an “artform”.

The primary concept starting with the artwork was to reflect on the concerns of migration of workers during the pandemic as well as designing a perfect amalgamation with the lush green context of site surroundings.

Murmurations by Studio Emergence - Sheet4
©Studio Emergence

Flocking birds seem to perfectly complement this and the self-standing iconic Matka with the city’s iconic architecture. Our concerns while designing this installation was to make sure that it speaks about sustainability not only conceptually, but visually as well.

Thus the concept of Biomimicry was introduced to work efficiently with the concept and highlight the sustainable factor in this design. Basic models of flocking behaviour are controlled by three simple rules:

  1. Separation – avoid crowding neighbours (short range repulsion)
  2. Alignment – steer towards average heading of neighbours
  3. Cohesion – steer towards the average position of neighbours (long range attraction).

With these three simple rules, the flock moves in an extremely realistic way, creating complex motion and interaction that would be difficult to create otherwise.

Murmurations by Studio Emergence - Sheet6
©Studio Emergence

Including these rulesets in the design process, varying heights between the ranges of 5 feet to 18 feet were finalised for the structure.

To reflect the swarming pattern of migratory birds precisely, the team developed a mathematical model and recreated the geometries via algorithms. Through an intensive computational process, the artwork is a beautiful nosedive of flock, of over 300 birds, covering over 2000 sq. ft. of area.


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