Best of British - Jason Bruges

Turning Big Ideas into Brilliant Designs

Editorial Team18 Mar 2022

Jason Bruges is a man of vision. Since we last spoke in December at BODW 2021, his team has already gone on to craft another exciting work at the much-anticipated opening of the Museum of the Future in Dubai.  


But without the tenacity and an agile approach to project management, it would have been tough to pull off all his cool ideas.  


“The pandemic has been a reset in terms of creating site-specific work because you are relying on remote observation and third parties to do that work for you. We are a very physical, hands-on Studio, we prototype, we test. And it’s those sorts of things that spark ideas.”  


In this video interview for bodw+, Jason explored how the global pandemic has affected the Studio’s work and the innovative ways that have been adopted in order to develop new projects. He spoke at length on two of the Studio’s recent works, The Constant Gardeners, a vast, kinetic art installation created to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and Digital Phyllotaxy, a bespoke media artwork that emulates a tree canopy, designed for Hankook Tire’s new headquarters in Pangyo, Seoul.  


Through intervening in the urban environment, Jason Bruges Studio produces moments of theatre that weave a sense of magic into the fabric of a place. Bespoke and site-specific, each project explores interrelationships between people, data, nature and technology.  Telling stories and creating conversations, the artworks bring people together to ultimately surprise, delight and stir the imagination. Some of the Studio’s other celebrated works include:  Digital Ornithology, an installation emulating a murmuration of birds for the Wadden Sea Centre in Denmark, and Shadow Wall, an interactive digital canvas located in Wembley Park. 


Internationally renowned as a pioneer of the hybrid space between art, architecture and technology, his artworks are like ‘sculptural barometers’ that tap into the emotional tapestry of a community or place by translating live feedback into living, breathing, spatial interventions. A master of light and kinetic art, he uses a high-tech, mixed-media palette to explore spectacle, time-based interventions, and dynamic immersive experiences. Jason studied architecture at the Bartlett (UCL, London), then worked at Foster + Partners and Imagination. In 2002, he set up Jason Bruges Studio where he works with a talented team to deliver integrated public art projects world-wide.  


Jason explains their work focused on the genius loci, the atmosphere of a place. Investigating how the site operates, its climate and socio-economic status. “We observe how the place is inhabited, how the citizens use the site or would hope to use the site in the future.” 


For a number of years’, the Studio has used virtual reality to illustrate how artworks will look once installed on site. Taking this one step further, the team has more recently started to build models in augmented reality. Rather than visualising artworks within a virtual world, the team can travel to site and see a 4D visualisation of the artwork in its live location. This has proven to be a great tool for communicating ideas with clients and for spotting any issues that might otherwise be missed on drawings and digital models. The digital twin can also be broadcast to an online audience widening the reach to people who are unable to view the work in person. 


“I think there is an opportunity with this reset to think about when we need to travel. Of course, we need to travel when we are creating site-specific work, we still need to collaborate with people. But I think this magnitude and the frequency of that travel can change quite a bit and we can be more discerning and more critical of that use of planet’s resources.” 


“Looking back at the last 18 months you can only be thinking optimistically about moving forward. I feel very confident that we can develop new designs, new ideas and seek out new opportunities.”