Parabola - CODAworx



Client: San Francisco Design Week

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team


Chris Nunes



BC Biermann



San Francisco Design Week engaged us to present an interactive artwork to their 5000+ attendees, to help bridge the exterior public space to the designed interior event space. The mural space was 65 feet wide by 18 feet high, elevated 22 feet off the ground, and would adhere to the window structure facing San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill – so it would be the primary design element welcoming attendees to the conference. We created a 2D mural that paired with an augmented reality experience that allowed designers to play with furniture positioning, lighting, wall treatments, and in keeping with the spirit of San Francisco – a final act of protest/defiance that explodes the 3D chair into a raised fist.


In addition to an external mural design, we were asked to help showcase how augmented reality could be used by design professionals as a design-aid tool. The mural depicts a complex chrome chair designed from 30 overlapping parabolas, in front of a geometric design wallpaper. In augmented reality, the chair emerged from the wallspace into a three-dimensional representation of a lounge room. The chair could be repositioned, the lighting could be dimmed and temperature changed, and the wallpaper could be color changed. Consistent with the event's internal entryway design created by Loczi Design Group, the chair model could also be "exploded" digitally in an act of defiance, turning the chair into a raised fist of protest. Finally, if the conference attendee wanted to experience the chair in real materials, they could "conform" the exploded chair back into form, and the app would send a printable 3D file of a desk model sized version of the Parabola chair to their email address.


The SF Design Week conference team engaged multiple teams to design the interior of the conference, but they had no concepts or plans for the exterior. We site surveyed the event venue, and helped the team select this bay of windows as the installation location to greet conference attendees. The event organizer wanted AR to help guests play with cutting-edge spatial design tools, so we created this experience to help highlight how design environments can benefit from playful immersive installation art. We developed the simple concept of "a chair in a room" that could be repositioned in an interactive scene. But from there, we greatly enhanced the complexity of the project with the chair design, with the what the AR toolsets would allow designers to play with, and the full dimensionality of a digital experience that appears to be reset 22 feet into the building wall while also protruding out off the wall by more than 30 feet.