Pho’liage®: Blooming the Future of Architecture with Nature-Inspired Innovation
Pho’liage®: Blooming the Future of Architecture with Nature-Inspired Innovation

Pho’liage®: Blooming the Future of Architecture with Nature-Inspired Innovation

Imagine walking through the vibrant streets of Paris, where a revolutionary architectural project is taking root, designed to breathe in sync with nature itself. This is the vision behind Pho’liage®, a creation that’s about to change how we think about buildings and their relationship with the environment. Spearheaded by ArtBuild Paris, and led by the forward-thinking architect Steven Ware, this project is a brilliant example of what happens when you combine a love for biology with architectural expertise.

Pho’liage® draws its essence from the natural world, particularly from the fascinating way flowers open and close in response to the sun’s presence. It’s like watching nature’s dance, where petals unfold with the sunrise, embracing the day, and curl up as the sun sets, all in a perfect rhythm. This magical process, inspired by the biological term “nyctinasty,” is at the heart of Pho’liage®.

Pho’liage® Inspired by Nyctinasty

Here’s where it gets even more interesting. By using clever materials such as shape memory alloys (SMA) and thermobimetal that can remember and change shape, this façade design mimics the movement of flowers to control the amount of sunlight that a building receives. On warm days, when temperatures soar above 25°C, the “petals” of the device open, creating a vast, protective curtain that shields the building’s interior from overheating. As the temperature drops, these petals gently close, permitting natural light to illuminate the indoor spaces. This smart use of technology means the building needs less artificial cooling, saving energy and reducing its carbon footprint.

Number of optimised design versions studied with technical characteristics.
V2 imperforated prototype. Change in shape within temperature variation.
V2 perforated prototype
Left: Photo of the folded position
Right: CAD of the open position

But that’s not all. The design team at AB_Lab, armed with their deep dive into biomimetic design, didn’t stop with just mimicking nature’s movements. They went a step further by incorporating solar cells into the design. Yes, you read that right. While providing shade and reducing heat, the façade also generates clean energy from the sun, making Pho’liage® a powerhouse of sustainability.

The beauty of this system lies in its adaptability. The team has been tirelessly working to ensure that this innovative façade can be tailored to different buildings, making it as versatile as it is effective. Imagine a future where buildings across the globe can adapt to the sun’s energy, just like a flower in nature, making our urban environments more sustainable and harmonious with the world around us.

By the end of 2022, the first real-world application of Pho’liage® graced the new headquarters of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. This marks a significant milestone, for ArtBuild Paris, and the future of sustainable architecture worldwide.

International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France

This project is a testament to the power of looking to nature for solutions to our modern challenges. Pho’liage® showcased how integrating principles of biomimicry into architecture can lead to buildings that not only look beautiful but also contribute positively to our planet’s health. It’s a bold step towards a future where our buildings breathe with the earth, embodying the true spirit of sustainability and energy efficiency.

So, as we move forward, let’s draw inspiration from Pho’liage® and envision a world where our creations live in harmony with the natural world, where every building has the potential to contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. Welcome to the revolution of bio-inspired design, where the future of architecture is not just built; it’s grown.

For further learning: 20200827_PHOLIAGE_NI_printA5_light.pdf (