Cosmic Streams


Cosmic streams celebrates water in a harsh, dry environment. Water is essential to life. It is precious and for that, we should celebrate it.  Burning Man offers an environment that enhances its profound importance to us. For me, it is really about appreciating water, and that is why it has become the main building material. The key form for the proposal is created by glowing streams of water.

The glowing water will induce play and allow people to interact with the water. The installation can be used for washing, cooling off or just relaxing and observing.

The form for the design was conceived by my interest in liquids and how we can manipulate them. I began with a study of fluid properties. I looked at everyday uses and how we use liquids. To develop the idea of fluid form making further patterns, I began to investigate ferrofluid. This liquid can be forced into new patterns and structures by using magnetic fields. When a magnet field is brought close to the liquid, an array of spikes is formed. The position of these spikes is determined by a series of streamlines (a series of invisible magnetic field vectors). It is these streamlines that have defined the form of the installation.

Green night LIGHT

Glowing water is the interactive part of this piece. The water and light are combined to evoke play to passers by.  These streams of fluid are tactile and create habitable spaces beneath.

To a passer by, it resembles a series of glowing arcs with an aura around it. As the installation is approached, it is clear to see that there are a number of spaces within these arcs. Intrigued, the user can experiment with these spaces. Some spaces offer a chance to relax and watch streams of bright liquid pass over you without being touched by the jets.

The base of the proposal has shallow contours and, over the period of a week, will become covered in sand and dust concealing the base. When the pumps are switched on, it will appear that liquid is emerging from the desert floor.


The installations is highly interactive. There are spaces for people to people to engage with fluids in a number of different ways. The images below show the three typologies.


Author: Will Garforth-Bles

I have completed my BArch at Oxford Brookes University. I then went on to complete my part 1 experience at Boyarsky Murphy Architects and Paul Davis and Partners. I took 2 years out to develop the skills I learnt at university. I was involved in a number of competitions to win work for the practices.

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