FoldHaus Art Collective

This is an image of three sculpture pieces that look like mushrooms inside the Renwick Gallery.

FoldHaus Art Collective, Shrumen Lumen. Photo by Ron Blunt. 

On view from March 30, 2018 to January 21, 2019

FoldHaus is a collective of engineers, designers, and makers based in the San Francisco Bay area, that is dedicated to creating interactive kinetic art. A small core team focuses on the design and engineering of these complex pieces, while a large number of volunteers contributes to the time-intensive build process. FoldHaus builds its art at the design firm IDEO, where many of its members are current or former employees. The group is currently led by Joerg Student and Jesse Silver.

The collective started to form in 2010, when a small group of designers built a yurt for Burning Man based on a collapsible emergency shelter design Student had created during his time at the Royal College of Art in London. The yurt’s lightweight, folded construction proved to be efficient and durable on playa, and inspired the group’s subsequent art pieces at Burning Man: Blumen Lumen (2014) and Shrumen Lumen (2016).

The elements of this sophisticated, interactive cluster of fungi each has its own particular character and all delightfully respond to human interaction. As participants step on the footpads located beneath each cap, the mushrooms gently grow and “breathe.zzzzz’ In daylight the grouping appears ethereal white, while at night, it magically transforms with embedded LEDs that glow through the translucent outer skin to bring the installation to life.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time. The exhibition takes over the entire Renwick Gallery building and surrounding Golden Triangle neighborhood, bringing alive the maker culture and creative spirit of this cultural movement.

On the Blog

Eye Level, March 20, 2018, “Sneak Peek: Burning Man Unfolds at the Renwick