Burble London (an implementation of Open Burble)

Burble London, open to the public to celebrate London Fashion Week, launched at 8.20pm on Sunday September 16, 2007 at Holland Park, London.

The Burble is a massive structure reaching up towards the sky, composed of approximately 1000 extra-large helium balloons each of which contains microcontrollers and LEDs that create spectacular patterns of light across the surface of the structure. The public, both audience and performer, come together to control this immense rippling, glowing, bustling 'Burble' that sways in the evening sky, in response to movements of the long articulated interactive handle bar at the base of the structure. The ephemeral experience exists at such a large scale that it is able to compete visually in an urban context with the buildings that surround it.

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Burble London, Holland Park, 2007 (photos by Wang Wei)

The Burble is held down to the ground by the combined weight of the crowds holding on to the handle bar. They may position it as they like. They may curve in on themselves, or pull it in a straight line - the form is a combination of the crowd's desires and the impact of wind currents varying throughout the height of the Burble.

Video by Mariko Montpetit

As people on the ground shake and pump the handle bars of the Burble, they see their movements echoed as colours through the entire system. Part installation, part performance, the Burble enables people to contribute at an urban scale to a structure that occupies their city, albeit for only one night.


Core team consisted of:
Usman Haque (architect); Rolf Pixley (algorithmist and chromodynamicist); Barbara Jasinowicz (production supervisor); Ivan Roncari (assembly supervisor); Seth Garlock (B2B network, balloon hardware design); Ai Hasegawa (general fabrication); Mo-Ling Chui (project liaison); building on work from last year by the Open Burble team.

Handle bar design, fabrication, testing, field operations:
Toby Carr, Richard Grimes, Fred Guttfield, Elliot Payne.

Fabrication and field operations:
Alex, Marta, Genevieve, Carlos, Letizia, Momoe, Abdelwahid Bachiri, Chao Rong Chen, Susan Haque, John Jorgensen, Graham Northmore, Hiromi Ozaki, Madalina Pierseca, Karen Silvia Mendoza Pinto, Vasile Radu, Thomas Thwaites, Seok Hwan Yang.

Site assembly:
27 people from Affinity Crew and Moet, co-ordinated by Rachel King.

Security and electronics rescue:
Cosmo, Sheldon and 4 others.

And thanks for emergency help when the wind picked up...:
Ruairi Glynn, Christian Kerrigan, Shane Solanki, and a couple of hundred Londoners.

November 2013: Please note that Haque Design + Research is now Umbrellium, where more up-to-date information can be found Umbrellium