IN: Inspiration

Future Mobility

Es Devlin’s ZOETROPE brings the future of electric travel to the now


A series of radiating concrete blades, almost resembling the spokes of a wheel, form the intriguing housing for award-winning designer Es Devlin’s latest project, Zoetrope. UK-based Devlin is best known for her large-scale sculptural works as well her design for the London Olympic Closing Ceremony and touring stage sculptures for Beyoncé and U2.

With the ZOETROPE, she has created a public pavilion that explores electric mobility, through architecture, film and experience design.Launched on 1 November 2018 at the Silo Square at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, the sculptural installation will remain open for a full year, with visitors welcome free of charge. Mercedes-Benz commissioned Devlin to create this unique work to ignite public excitement around the future offered by electric mobility.

PPC Imaginarium

“First it was paths traced by human feet, then tracks from cartwheels and a network of coaching-inns with stables. Next the size of gas tanks in fossil-fuel driven cars determined the geometry of the global highway petrol station network,” explains Devlin, of her new immersive installation.

The ZOETROPE imagines the potential for a future global network of solar-powered pavilions specific to their locations, each one acting as a unique charging station for the mind of the driver.

Working closely with South African film-makers, Devlin gathered footage from 12 geographical points that express life within 100km radius of the site, which was then edited into 12 one-minute films that form the narrative inside the ZOETROPE.

PPC Imaginarium

ZOETROPE comprises of a steel frame structure clad in 72 concrete panels made using sand that was significantly sourced from the 12 filming locations and blended to form the same cement used to construct the original Silo building – out of respect to its context.  The structure merges with its historic surroundings through its very DNA. Roofed with modern solar power technology, the sculpture is completely off the grid, producing 11.4 kW of energy that powers the audiovisual equipment used inside.

Upon entering, visitors will walk through a labyrinthine route that spans the length of the 12 one-minute films. Through its use of light, colour and sound, the sculpture creates an immersive journey for visitors. This journey aims to foster an appreciation of electric mobility’s exciting future.

Photo Credits: Karl Rogers Photography

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