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heart of wood

Kinetic wooden sculpture for Skellefteå Kraft and Sara Cultural Centre


Sara Cultural Centre and The Wood Hotel is a dynamic space in constant movement. Someone waits for a colleague, a group of people dance, others wait for a concert to start.

Suspended in the ceiling is Heart of Wood. The kinetic wooden installation opens its wooden surface and closes again. It tells a story about the building, beating with it, mirroring its tranquil flow.

The Heart of Wood is connected to the smart energy system of the house, and on the hour it highlights aspects of current energy data. At these moments the sculpture opens up wider, performing a softly moving choreography in which information on the energy system can be read. Between hourly events, the heart moves calmly in a pattern which resembles slow, deep breathing; movements which symbolize energy that pulsates through the building.

The sculpture’s slotted and curved wooden panels form a faceted, diaphanous sphere. When it opens and the overlapping surface reaches up and out, its black mechanical interior becomes more visible. Just like the exposed beams in the ceiling of the large, wooden cultural center, the sculpture’s interior isn’t meant to be hidden. One single motor, located in the center of the heart, drives all 400+ interconnected parts simultaneously. The motion of the sculpture is light, graceful, and energy efficient as a result of carefully designed joints and plain vertical movement.

Heart of Wood is illuminated by two layers of light from within. The dynamic light moves in harmony with the choreographies. On the inside ceiling of the sculpture, individual diodes sparkle downward and emphasize the physical movement. On the interior bottom, a group of upward facing linear fixtures circle the center. They provide an indirect vivid light, enhancing the character of the wood, highlighting the contrast in materials.

Material: Pine plywood, aluminum, LEDs, motor.


Gwylim Johnstone

Jaime Reyes

Anna Torvaldsdotter

Håkan Lidbo

Software assistance from Dominique McKerl Dautheribes

Photos by Jonas Westling

Heart of Wood was commissioned by Skellefteå Kraft to highlight the state of the art energy system they have provided to Sara Cultural Centre.

The project was a collaboration between the creators, White Architects and Volt Stockholm.

Special thanks to the Sara Cultural Centre staff, and Konstjord.

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