Philip Beesley: Transforming Space

  • Closed
June 2, 2018 to October 8, 2018
  • Level 4, Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costume
Can architecture feel, care, and respond? Can it start, in primitive ways, to come alive? Philip Beesley thinks so.


With a pioneering approach to structures and space that rests within the emerging field of responsive architecture, Philip Beesley: Transforming Space invites you to imagine and explore what architecture might look like in the future.



This installation merges chemistry, artificial intelligence and encompassing soundscapes from Philip Beesley and his collaborators in the Living Architecture Systems group to create a visually stunning, interactive environment that surrounds you like an enchanting artificial forest.

Hovering from above, delicate canopies and soaring clouds made up of lightweight meshes and 3D printed forms are embedded with responsive mechanisms and tiny microprocessors, creating an immersive structure that breathes, shifts, and even learns in relation to the people it surrounds.

Sharing a mutual fascination for materials and structures, Beesley and Iris van Herpen, one of today’s most original fashion designers, have influenced and contributed to one another’s work to push the boundaries of design and how we think about it.

Collaboration at Work

Iris van Herpen’s Aeriform collection, presented during Paris Couture week, marked her tenth anniversary. To further contribute to its growing collection of Fashions & Textiles, the ROM commissioned an iconic, soon-to-be-realized piece from this latest collection.

“To me this dress is . . . an expression of the way Philip inspires me to rethink the relationship between our body and the space around us, to remodel the relation between our insides and our outsides.” — Iris van Herpen
Directed by: Stylianos Pangalos. Music by: Salvador Breed, Between Music. Editing: Veronica Bonafè. Director of Photography: Matthieu David Cournot, Phil Prieur. Production: ADM paris

The Dome dress was inspired by air and designed with innovative materials to produce an intricate silhouette that floats around the body like a wondrous silver cloud. Made in collaboration with Philip Beesley, this incredibly light dress was created using delicate and voluminous laser-cut metal lace that was then hand-molded into three-dimensional domes. With nature as van Herpen’s other muse, the rose-like domes mimic bubbles of air reflecting light and billowing around the body, producing the airy, weightless movement of the Dome dress.

See this stunning design and special collaborative piece in the exhibition.

Aeriform dress

Royal Exhibitions Circle:
Gail and Bob Farquharson
Chris & Kasia Jamroz
Robert E. Pierce & family
Stephen Smith & Diane Blake
James and Louise Temerty
Richard Wernham & Julia West
Jeff Willner & family

Philip Beesley: Transforming Space was created by Philip Beesley and the Living Architecture Systems group.

The Philip Beesley Studio thanks the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, University of Waterloo, Canada Council for the Arts, Cultural Centre, Paris, Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council.

Authored by: Kait Sykes

Authored by: Kait Sykes