At one of London’s largest design museums, robots have been diligently weaving together a beetle-inspired pavilion on view until November. The Elytra Filament Pavilion at the Victoria and Albert Museum (spotted by Dezeen) is a temporary canopy made of lightweight materials wound together like giant games of cat's cradle.
Created by University of Stuttgart researchers specializing in biomimicry, robotics, and architecture, the webbed structure is inspired by the filament structure of elytra, the hardened exterior wings of beetles that protect the delicate hindwings underneath. Spanning more than 2150 square feet, the glass and carbon fiber structure weighs less than 2.5 tons.
However, the current design is not the pavilion’s final shape. It will change over time in response to how people use it. According to the museum, “Sensors in the canopy fibers will collect data on how visitors inhabit the pavilion and monitor the structure’s behavior, ultimately informing how and where the canopy grows.”
All images © Victoria and Albert Museum, London