When a Building’s Skin Ripples

FLARE is a pneumatic building facade system. The FLARE system consists of a number of tiltable metal flake bodies. An infinite array of flakes can be mounted on any building or wall surface. Each metal flake reflects the light. When the flake is tilted downwards by a computer controlled pneumatic piston, its face is shaded from the light and this way appears as a dark pixel. By reflecting ambient or direct sunlight the individual flakes act like pixels formed by natural light.

The system is controlled by a computer to form any kind of surface animation. Sensors inside and outside communicate the building’s activity directly to the system which acts as the building’s lateral line. FLARE turns the building facade into a penetrable membrane, breaking all conventions of static surfaces.

I love how it looks in motion but there’s something creepy about inanimate objects moving. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Designer: Christopher Bauder and Christian Perstl


  • powers says:

    That’s pretty neat, but see, they could have used all that technology to reflect sunlight into a spot to generate massive amounts of heat to be used for generating power for the building.

  • I think if the flares were solar panels, it’d be the intention of the century. If they were reflectors to target light to a panel, even better.

  • powers, you are a visionary.

  • Joe says:

    I rather like the LED panels on the Lehman Brothers building in NYC, however this one of a kind.

  • Seems cool, however:

    1. With all that pneumatic structure, probably the generated power would be less than the power needed for the facade to work… (whatever those flakes were solar panels or reflectors to target light to a panel).

    2. Depending on the building location, the sunlight may cause some problems if reflected to nearby buildings or into the traffic.

    If I look strictly to the visual effect, I rather like the BIX Project in Austria:

  • wem says:


  • Canastrophy says:

    Using a Soda Can painted White and Black on either side, and a small motor (all of this times hundred), I guess I could pull something similiar off. With a fourth of the costs.

  • Henry says:

    Fantastic design. There is a tiny similarity with Institut du Monde Arbabe à Paris whose “skin” controls the maount of light thatgoes inside the buiding.


Comments are closed.