Lift - CODAworx


Submitted by Patten Studio


Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $65,000

Project Team

Industry Resource

Ty Cole

Ty Cole


James Patten

Patten Studio


Lift is an interactive lighting feature that senses and responds to human activity in its environment. Comprised of 24 geometric petals attached to a single spine, each petal moves up and down in response to motion it detects – subtly fluttering as someone walks beneath it or moving more dramatically in response to faster movements. Lift is approximately ten feet long, and can be installed either as a single piece or as a group to create a larger installation.


Lift uses a series of low resolution thermal sensors to understand how people are moving around it and an embedded microcontroller directs movement of each petal.
The motion of the petals is achieved using nitinol shape memory alloy. Nitinol wire shrinks in length by a small amount when heated past a certain temperature. To lift a petal, a circuit sends electricity through the wire, causing it to heat and contract, in turn pulling the petal up. Lift does not use any motors and as a result the motion is completely silent. The nitinol, also known as “muscle wire,” gives the motion a fluid, organic quality.


Lift is a studio initiated interactive lighting feature designed for a site specific installation such as lobby or hospitality feature.

Additional Information

Lift exists at the convergence of architecture, art, design, and technology, challenging us to consider an alternative narrative for our relationship to the digital world. Rather than being a force that separates us from each other, interactive technology can, with careful design, imbue our spaces with some of the richness, nuance, and immediacy we experience in the natural world.