Known as one of the seven wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were a spectacular feat of ancient engineering. Now French artistic collective Les Machines de L’ile are building what might be the largest hanging garden built since Babylon, towering 114 feet high and spreading out over 160 feet in diameter. Watch this video explaining the collective's L’Arbre aux Hérons (The Heron’s Tree):
Based out of Nantes, France, Les Machines de L’ile was born out of the collaboration between the duo of François Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice, who were the creative minds behind the construction of this fantastical, mechanical metropolis in Nantes. This world of actual mechanical wonders was inspired by the works of Nantes native and writer Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci. The Heron's Tree is intended as a third in a series of imaginative, kinetic installations, which include the Grand Elephant and the Galerie des Machines (Machine Gallery) in 2007, the Carousel of the Sea Worlds in 2012, all of which are situated in the city's shipyards, adjacent to the River Loire.
The Heron's Tree will consist of a huge, tree-like steel structure that will be located in an unused granite quarry. Preliminary sketches of the design have two mechanical herons that will alight beside two platforms to carry visitors on a predetermined route. In addition, visitors will be able to walk on some of the Tree's branches, in the midst of a network of hanging plants that give that impression of a delightful garden. So far, partial prototypes and studies of the design have been built and are on display at the Galerie des Machines. The designers say:
Not unlike a tree, its construction is a living process. [..] Until the final months of its growth and the expansion of its foliage, the final struts that have been planted will begin to lower their loads, like the sprouting roots of a giant Banyan tree. The Tree’s mechanical menagerie will continue to grow and evolve throughout its life. During the 4 phases of construction, the Galerie des Machines will be a space where you can share and talk about the artistic adventure of the Heron Tree.
It's an ambitious project that will be slated to open by 2022. This cultural tour de force is being crowdfunded via Kickstarter -- you can donate there or to find out more, visit Facebook and Les Machines de L’ile.
[Via: This Is Colossal]