Sonic Bloom

Seattle Center, Seattle WA


SONIC BLOOM, 2013, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Center, Seattle WA.
Commissioned by the Pacific Science Center and Seattle City Light’s Green Up Program.
5 flowers: 20’ diameter and up to 40’ tall. Steel, fiberglass, custom photo voltaic cells, LEDs, sensors, interactive sound system and energy data monitoring.


In the playful context of Seattle Center’s festival grounds, Sonic Bloom is a permanent interactive art installation at the foot of Seattle’s Space Needle and a defining entry sculpture to the Pacific Science Center. 5 giant solar flowers absorb the sun’s energy and express it at night with patterned LED lighting and in the daytime with a chorus of interactive harmonic tones triggered by people’s movement around each flower. The striped stalks are also massive barcodes that allow inquisitive types to decode the supersized puzzle.
IMG_4214wAt the foot of Seattle’s Space Needle and a defining entry sculpture to the Pacific Science Center Sonic Bloom was conceived as a dynamic and educational focal piece that would extend the Science Center’s education outside of their buildings while engaging the public with an iconic artwork prompting curiosity and interactivity both during the day and night.


Seattle, with its mild maritime climate, hosts some of the most enthusiastic gardeners in the country. The artist is not only a self-described “plant geek” and has created other award-winning gardens, but has also created the garden concept for the planting beds below the sculptures as well. The Sonic Bloom garden is designed for a year-round viewing highlighting certain flowers and color combinations that echo the sculptures every season.


Installation crew prepares to lift one of the flower centers onto its stalk. Note the array of custom photo voltaic cells and arching “stamen lighting”


The title Sonic Bloom refers not only to our defining location “on the Puget Sound” but also to the artwork itself that sings as the public approaches each flower. Every flower has its own distinctive series of harmonic notes simulating a singing chorus. A hidden sensor located in each flower identifies movement and triggers the sound. So if there are 5 people engaging the flowers together, it is possible to compose and conduct music together or by walking through, randomly set off a harmonic sequence.

photo © Frank Huster


Special thanks to all our great Project Partners:
Mike Nelson
Galaxy Electric &Solar
Steve Monsey
Paul Strong
Swenson Say Faget
Bulldog Powdercoating
NW Auto Body
Puget Sound Coatings
Sunbacker Fiberglass
Silicon Energy
DMI Drilling
Van Overbeke Const.
Ace Galvanizing
Sound Deliveries
Enphase Energy
Kelly Early
Brickman Landscape
Frank Huster