Archive for the ‘Lighting’ Category

SCI-Arc at Coachella 3The title “Rock and Roll Fantasy” might be a little misleading for this SCI-Arc studio project lead by Ball Nogues‘ Benjamin Ball, Gaston Nogues and Andrew Lyon. While the program was 100% rock and roll, the practical lessons learned during this collaborative design-build experience were far from fantastical.

The goal of the studio was to develop an iconic architectural installation for the popular music festival Coachella. The students had to work within the tight constraint of a single semester to design and build a structure using a budget of only $15k.

Ball Nogues’ studio is across the street from the Archinect HQ in downtown Los Angeles, so I was fortunate enough to follow the progress of this endeavor since the conception, prior to the start of the semester. I caught casual stories and occasional development drawings during my lunchtime visits with Benjamin. It kept me very curious and, honestly, a little doubtful that they could pull off such an ambitious undertaking. The result, as you will see, proved me wrong, but the story of the process through which this project took form is what I find most inspiring.

– Paul Petrunia

SCI-Arc at Coachella 1

Elastic Plastic Sponge
The Elastic Plastic Sponge was created by students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) led by Benjamin Ball, Gaston Nogues and Andrew Lyon of the Ball-Nogues Studio. The Elastic Plastic Sponge is a large scale installation and can be twisted, arched and curled to form different types of space including a lounge, a theater, or a large sculptural Mobius strip. In the desert heat of Indio, the architectural installation will provide a respite from the sun by making shade and mist while at night, each “cell” within the Elastic Plastic Sponge supports a fluorescent tube–the tubes shift in orientation relative to each other to create the effect of sweeping motion. The motion effect is evident from close-up as well as impactful from across the vast festival grounds–an important asset in an environment of throngs of festival-goers and competing spectacles.

The Elastic Plastic Sponge is a unique structure. In architecture terminology, the phrase that describes a system whose form is derived from its material properties is “form active.” These types of structures are difficult to study using software. They often require architects to explore their designs by testing full-scale mock-ups, and using that empirical information to help inform the process of digital modeling, which is studied in the studio rather than in the field.

The Elastic Plastic Sponge is comprised of 250 cells, each fabricated using custom jigs designed by SCI-Arc students. The cell module is a very effective way of constructing a temporary structure: each can be transported as a flat unit to the Festival and rapidly assembled on site.
From the Festival’s standpoint of an event spanning several days, the Elastic Plastic Sponge can be rapidly reconfigured to create unique spatial arrangements; its flexibility allows the designers to adapt to changing crowd, climate and site conditions. From a pedagogical standpoint, the Elastic Plastic Sponge’s mutability enabled students to examine its unique structure at full scale; working and reworking its shape as they would a digital model.SCI-Arc at Coachella 4

original link by Archinect


Thanks to the good folks at WATG’s Wimberly Labs, we got a tour today of some truly remarkable visualization and collaboration technology, including EON Reality’s immersive 3D room.


The cave (or iCube, as we’re told they would prefer we call it) is comprised of three white walls and a floor, all about 10′ x 10′ in size. Onto each surface is projected a high-resolution, stereoscopic image. A viewer stands in the room wearing polarized 3D glasses — like you might use in a 3D movie — with small markers that stick out a bit from the frames.


The markers are illuminated by IR LED floodlights located on the perimeter of the room, and IR-sensitive cameras use those positions to determine the precise location of each eye within the room. From those positions, stereo images for each projector are calculated and rendered on the fly, and the result is absolutely amazing.

We had heard about this technology before, but seeing is believing. Of course to get the real experience you need to physically be in the space, but you might enjoy living vicariously through David’s experience (click here to see the vid in HD instead):

WATG’s incredible hotel and resort work provide a superb example of the power of this tool. Why not let a client walk through their new resort before ground has even been broken? Take them into one of these and they’ll never settle for blueprints and a miniature model again.

Part of what makes this experience so wonderful is the lack of heavy, complicated headgear. The viewer is free to walk around, and the environment responds to their every move. There’s no training required or cumbersome technology to stand in the way of the content. But the effect doesn’t come cheap: you’ll need over half a million dollars and a lot of space to pull this off.

Now, how can we do something similar for pennies on the dollar?


A simple, featherweight headset, a 10′ x 10′ x 10′ white room, and $600,000 worth of projector and computer equipment, combined with the smarts of the folks at Eon Reality, results in one insanely real experience. ]

Video of the installation ‘The Changing Room’ at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2008.

The installation explores the transformative potential of the material world. Just like clothes designers, architects offer alternate looks and identities, age and income-appropriate shells. These constructions consist of a miscellaneous package of endogenous and exogenous values; things and ideas that inherently belong to architecture and its traditions, and things and ideas that do not, but that nevertheless profoundly influence architecture. How to deal with this? Can architecture still have autonomy? According to UNStudio the lesson is to ‘switch it on, switch it off’… to find autonomy in brief moments of liberation. On the inside of the structure, the visitor encounters a kaleidoscopic world of people posing, inviting voyeurism, and seeking transformation in their own conceptualizations.


Ingo Maurer has designed a giant Swarovski snowflake that will hang above the street from Harvey Nicols and The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London. The five-metre snowflake will be turned on by Unicef representative Trudi Styler on Monday, December 8th at 7 p.m. and small replica produced from solid crystal will also be available as a fundraising product. Also designed by Ingo Maurer, the miniature crystal ornament is wonderful tree decoration.


Using sensors and photo apertures recreates your image into raster patter like dot matrix. Very low key and highly interesting

It was just a month ago that Alpay Kasal of Lit Studios was impressing us with LaserGames, beaming all sorts of fun, interactive visuals on the wall. Now, with a few tweaks, he’s turned that projector around and made a two-way mirror into a sort of digital portal. “Interactive Mirror” uses the same basic mouse emulation as LaserGames — it seems to lack multi-touch but offers some interesting ideas, like showing how a custom T-shirt would look if you were wearing it. That’s potentially useful, but its primary function seems to be inducing childish wonderment in your friends. If the wide-eyed participants in the video below are any indication, it seems to do that quite well.

original website

The creative cats and kittens at Obscura Digital have put together a stunning piece of performance art / data manipulation demo which combines their proprietary multi-touch software with Musion’s Eyeliner 3D holographic projection system. Like that BMW installation we saw recently, this is one of those odd combinations of technology and art which is best seen in action rather than described — so check out the video after the break and see the work in all its mind-bending glory.

DJ MoCAP, master of time and white space, has developed a camera-based controller for the TRAKTOR Scratch DJ System. Just sketch the deck onto a piece of white paper and turn any high contrast surface into a mixing table. There seems to be a bit of latency but overall the system looks fairly responsive. Why? Why not, we say. Video demonstration after the break.

The FLARE system

FLARE is a modular system to create a dynamic hull for facades or any building or wall surface. Acting like a living skin, it allows a building to express, communicate and interact with its environment.

FLARE turns the building facade into a penetrable kinetic membrane, breaking with all conventions of the building surface as a static skin.

FLARE units

The FLARE system consists of a number of tiltable metal flake bodies supplemented by individually controllable pneumatic cylinders.

Due to the developed pattern, an infinite array of flakes can be mounted on any building or wall surface in a modular system of multiplied FLARE units.

The visual effect

Each metal flake reflects the bright sky or sunlight when in vertical standby position.
When the flake is tilted downwards by a computer controlled pneumatic piston, its face is shaded from the sky light and this way appears as a dark pixel.

By reflecting ambient or direct sunlight, the individual flakes of the FLARE system act like pixels formed by natural light.

The system is controlled by a computer to form any kind of surface animation. Sensor systems inside and outside the building communicate the buildings activity directly to the FLARE system which acts as the buildings lateral line.

Rogier van der Heide – Arup Lighting – Hyperreality in the urban context

He discussed the question “Who are we building these facades for?” and talked about the process of design and manufacture of one of his best known pieces of work, as the lead designer for Arups on the Galleria facde in Seoul. The windowless Galleria West mall used to be a drab, understated presence in the Apgujeong-dong district, one of Seoul’s most exclusive shopping areas. The client, Hanwha Stores Co, wanted to turn it into a landmark building that would reflect the exclusive boutiques within its walls.


UN Studio and Arup Lighting were brought on board to recreate the mall’s exterior, with additional support from Arup’s structural engineers. Together they developed a chameleon-like facade that reflects the subtleties of natural light on opalescent, dichroic glass discs during the day. At night the discs are individually backlit and controlled by a computer program to create colour schemes all over the building – each disc acting like a big pixel on a screen.


Rogier van der Heide went through various stages of modelling the facade, begining with very simply with cardboard, fibre optics, gels, and colour filters, followed by more sophisticated technologies and analysis, plus input from fellow design team members. 4330 discs, each 850mm in diameter, make up the entire facade of the mall.

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