Transparent tubes transport note-filled capsules around the west wing of Somerset House in this installation by Autoban, which is Turkey’s addition to the first London Design Biennale.
The Istanbul studio’s interactive Wish Machine installation asks visitors to the Biennale to jot down a wish on a piece of paper, seal it in a capsule and launch it into a system of pressurised pipes.
The capsules are first sucked around a section of pipework laid out in a hexagonal outline and surrounded by mirrors, and then out of the room to an unknown destination.
Autoban founders Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar based the installation on a pneumatic messaging system developed in the 19th century, as well as the concept of the wish tree.
Notes and offerings are typically tied to the branches of wish trees in a practice followed by several cultures and religions, including Turkey’s Anatolian faith.
“The Wish Machine is a contemporary version of the wish tree, in which people make wishes of hope,” Seyhan Özdemir told Dezeen at a preview of the installation today.
“It’s a metaphor for people’s wishes and hope, which we think we all need right now in the world,” she added.
“You can make your wish, write on a [piece of] paper, put in a tube and send your wish. Like the original wish tree, your wish is between you and the universe.”
The piece is intended to respond to the Biennale theme Utopia by Design. It aims to offer visitors hope amid the present crises affecting Europe – from global warming to war and migration.
“There’s a new reality of social movements and change in which Turkey is the epicentre by being a land bridge from the Middle East to Europe,” said the designers.
“Today, looking at the maps of migration, one can see the emergence of a new kind of wish tree around Europe,” they added. “Not in the form of tying small notes to a tree, but manifested in the migration of populations searching for a utopian country as they flee war.”
Autoban works across architecture, interior, product and experiential design, and has previously designed an airport terminal in Baku.
The Wish Machine opens tomorrow at Somerset House as part of the inaugural London Design Biennale.
All 37 counties taking part in the Biennale event have been asked to create work under the theme Utopia by Design.
The event will run concurrently with the capital’s annual London Design Festival (LDF), which opens later this month. See our top picks of installations and launches at both the London Design Biennial and LDF.