Foreigner

Submitted by LERA Plus (LERA+)

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Client: James Clar

Location: Shanghai, China

Project Team

Project Manager

Alfonso Oliva

LERA+

Project Engineer

Nidhi Sekhar

LERA+

Overview

This bewildering art installation by American artist James Clar depicts the first contact of a humanoid form on a foreign land or planet, with waves of colored light evoking atmospheric winds. At the end sits a Moravian star-like satellite made from LED lights and metal rods. Previously, for similarly shaped light sculptures, the artist would design each light and rod connection by hand prior to 3D printing them, a time consuming and unreliable process.

Goals

LERA+ created a custom plugin for Rhino that automated this process, saving the artist time to devote to the larger, more complicated elements of the installation. In Rhino, the artist was able to define each connection, assign which sections would hold LED lights and which would plainly be steel rods, and run the plugin to automate the design of the connections. He could then modify the sculpture as he saw fit, and the connections would automatically adapt to the new geometry. The plugin also optimized each connection so as to use as little material as possible for 3D printing while maintaining structural stability.