A colorful urban art installation in Jerusalem has the world of architecture giddy about its innovative design. HQ Architects created giant red poppies that open and close in reaction to movements and sound from passersby below the installation.

The operation of the flowers is based on pneumatics – they are filled with air by an air compressor and deflate to close. If someone is looking for a bit of shade from the hot Israeli sun or a cover from a sudden winter downpour, the flower will stay open until they move away.

The installation adds a splash of color to the capital city’s Machane Yehuda marketplace area. Photo courtesy of HQ Architects
The installation adds a splash of color to the capital city’s Machane Yehuda marketplace area. Photo courtesy of HQ Architects

The architects, who are actually based in Tel Aviv, say they designed the flowers to unite the people of Jerusalem. Architect Erez Ella told TheBlaze he hoped that “this small event causes people to spend time and creates conversation in a split city when different populations share the urban space.”

The four-flower installation, known as Warde, was unveiled on the first night of Hanukkah last year at Valero Square across Jaffa Road from the Machane Yehuda market. The nine-meter-by-nine-meter poppies also open and close when the light rail approaches the nearby station.

The flowers close when nobody is walking under them. Photo courtesy of HQ Architects
The flowers close when nobody is walking under them. Photo courtesy of HQ Architects

DesignBoom, Co.Design and TheBlaze, among other popular design sites, have recently featured the installation.

The 13-member HQ Architects team says it “strives to question conventions and create culturally challenging buildings and art installations.”

 Photo courtesy of HQ Architects
Photo courtesy of HQ Architects