The Pearl makes waves as world's largest kinetic sculpture
Described as the world's largest kinetic art sculpture by New York City-based designer Breakfast, the Pearl is a remarkably intricate art installation that draws inspiration from the sea and consists of thousands of moving tiles.
The Pearl is situated on Royal Caribbean's new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, and has a height of roughly 45 ft (13.7 m), with a diameter of 53 ft (16 m). It encloses a staircase providing access to an upper floor on the ship and its tiles are arranged in a Fibonacci sequence. Interestingly, the tiles' movement isn't just some pre-programmed pattern but is actually informed by local conditions in the Caribbean.
"What sets the Pearl apart is its interactive nature," explained Breakfast. "The sculpture's movements are influenced by real-time tidal and wind data from the Caribbean. This feature allows it to continuously transform, reflecting the current environmental conditions in an ever-evolving display of calmness or intensity.
"The journey to bring the Pearl to life spanned over four years of relentless work by Breakfast. This period was marked by innovative conceptualization, design, and custom fabrication of each part, underscoring the studio's commitment to craftsmanship and detailed execution."
Realizing the Pearl involved the creation of multiple prototypes and testing to ensure the final sculpture's tiles had the correct shade of base color and shimmer desired. Each of its almost 3,000 tiles is connected to a linear actuator that push the tiles outwards and/or tilt them in multiple directions, creating complex patterns. A computer controls the movement of the tiles and lighting also changes their appearance. The tiles themselves were created in the US and Finland, and a door had to be removed on the cruise ship to actually fit it all in.
If you'd like to see the Pearl in person you'll need to book a cruise, however those without their sea legs can also check out its movements in the short video below.