Pyramid lights up in London for International Women in Engineering Day
Image credit: Milene Guermont
An installation by artist and engineer Milène Guermont is set to be illuminated in London for International Women in Engineering Day. Members of the public are invited to interact with the structure, which responds to their heartbeats.
Guermont trained as both an artist and engineer, and often takes a technical approach to her work. Following a synesthetic incident in which she “touched a regular [concrete] wall and felt that [she] was on the beach”, she began working with “polysensual concrete”: concrete which can respond to people, such as by playing sounds from the ocean when touched.
She is perhaps best known for her monumental artwork, Phares, a 30m-tall pyramid, which stood for six months in the Place de la Concorde, Paris. Phares complemented the nearby Obelisk of Luxor, standing in front of it and covering it with a swirl of lights from retro car headlights. Members of the public were invited to place their finger inside a cardiac sensor, and Phares’ lights – as well as lights on the Eiffel Tower and Montparnasse Tower – would synchronise with their heartbeat.
Inspired by Egyptian obelisks, which were always created in pairs, Guermont has built a companion to Phares: Pyramidion Twin. This much smaller pyramid is 4m high, and also responds to heartbeats with pulsating lights. When visitors touch Pyramidion Twin, which is based outside Trinity House, London, they will also illuminate its companion via satellite communication.
Pyramidion Twin will be illuminated on International Women in Engineering Day (23 June).
“I am an artist but I am also an engineer,” Guermont told E&T. “The message [of Pyramidion Twin] is that women can be in engineering in different ways.”
Guermont said that she hopes it will help to break stereotypes about the work of engineers, as well as sending an optimistic message about how we can interact with our environment, and with other people around the world.
She hopes that after its stint in London to celebrate women in engineering, the sustainable artwork will travel to Poland for COP24 (24th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) where it could be illuminated in different colours, reflecting the concentration of pollution in the air.