The Journey of a Drop by Rolf Sachs shows us drops of colored ink falling from the top of staircase into a glass tank six floors below.
As the drops of ink reach the tank, the splash is amplified by a sensitive underwater microphone. The ink drops reach their terminal velocity in the three and a half seconds it takes for them to fall to the tank, where they create a burst of color on impact.
The liquid in the tank is a detergent, and that’s why the color slowly disappears to wait for the arrival of the next drop,” Sachs explained at the opening of the installation. Sachs also noted that the blue drops create a slightly different noise due to the varying concentration of pigment in the ink.
The installation was inspired by the traditional method of making lead shot for ammunition, which involves dropping molten lead from a specific height so that it solidifies into a sphere when plunged into water.
All images © Rolf Sachs – Website
The Journey of a Drop is installed in the Henry Cole Wing Grand Staircase, which has been opened to the public for the first time during this year’s London Design Festival.
Starting slowly, with scientific precision, each measured drop quickly gains pace. As the speed gathers momentum, the drop becomes more spontaneous in its nature, before falling into the depths and landing into a vast tank of illuminated liquid with unexpected results. On impact the individual drops explode into the liquid creating organic transient clouds of ever changing shapes and colour. Yet once more taken by surprise, the observer sees these clouds mingle and merge until inexplicably disappearing… until the next show. Understated at first glance, the seemingly simple notion of a drop falling has been masterfully designed using finely-tuned machinery and specially developed liquids and pigments.