Patterned by Nature brings nature's mathematical patterns to life in a 90 foot long animated liquid crystal sculpture

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center aims to promote a deeper understanding of the natural world, and thus inspire visitors to conserve it. When visitors first arrive, they enter a four-story atrium. The museum needed an artwork for this space to set the tone for the experience visitors are about to have.

The museum commissioned ‘Patterned by Nature’, a 90-foot liquid crystal sculpture that shows abstract patterns that repeat themselves on different scales in nature. A key reason why these patterns repeat is that organisms and phenomena at different scales are all subject to the same physical laws. By showing these patterns in an abstract, low-resolution form, Patterned by Nature exposes and celebrates their mathematical simplicity. 

The sculpture itself doesn’t emit any light. Rather, by varying the opacity of each liquid crystal tile, the sculpture works with sunlight to create images. As a result, the entire sculpture consumes less than 75 watts of power, about the same as a household light bulb.

Patterned by Nature was a collaboration between SOSO Limited, Plebian Design, Hypersonic and Patten Studio. Patten Studio designed, fabricated and assembled the electronics to drive the 3600 individual liquid crystal elements that enable the sculpture to show moving images and developed the embedded software that controls these liquid crystal elements.

Patten Studio
Electronics, Firmware and Driver Software
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
  • SOSO Limited
    Concept, Design, Content Design
  • Plebian Design
    Concept, Design, Content Design, Engineering, Installation
  • Hypersonic
    Concept, Design, Engineering, Fabrication, Installation
  • Any Merriell
  • North Carolina Museumof Natural Sciences
  • ISTASE Rigging
  • Patriot Building
    Company Installation
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