Client: ARUP Ltd. London
Location: London, United Kingdom
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $150,000
The Sentiment Cocoon is a site specific interactive media architecture that seeks to capture and express human sentiment through the medium of light. These interactions are then transformed into pulses of light that travel throughout the cocoon. The cocoon generates a striking visual display of light that has been informed by people’s feelings.
The intent was to design a continuous and organic cocoon-like lightweight structure that would wind itself up the atrium and connect all seven floors. The focus is on the exploration of architectural form through digital fabrication, with translucent materials and responsive lighting to facilitate social interaction.
Media architecture installations such as the Sentiment Cocoon empower people by allowing them to express their feelings and opinions in public – as vehicles for participation. They are attracted by the visual presence of the architectural installations, and encouraged to engage with the playful modes of interaction they offer, turning the surrounding spaces into stages for social encounter where sentiments can be discussed. The Sentiment Cocoon was created for the staff of Arup Ltd in London. Situated in the building's atrium the interactive cocoon like sculpture turns the space into a stage for social encounter. People’s sentiments are collected and materialised into light and fibre provoking mediated social interactions through an exploration of architectural form, translucent materials and responsive lighting.
The task was to consider how an installation could place employees at the heart of a design brief. To represent the collective sentiment of people working in an office environment was ambitious, as the sculpture had to be constructed within nine days in a fully functioning office.
The suspended structure measures 20m high and 1.4 to 3.5m wide. The 20m tubular PVC interior core is segmented by plywood disks at 1m intervals. Each plywood disk has 10 protruding spokes creating 210 intersection points that are connected with steel cable creating a rhombic pattern and a complete structural system. The Pixel RGB LED system is comprised of four 400 node, 30 degree outward projecting continuous LED strands anchored to the core of the cocoon. Supplied by a 12 VDC power pack and Artnet control unit, the projected light passes through a special lenticular diffusion membrane before landing the partially translucent skin of the Cocoon itself. When a user swipes her smart card and thus submits her sentiment, a white flash of light instantly illuminates the cocoon. This white flash of light is intended to mirror the participant’s presence and to make her feel like they have actually transformed their presence and sentiment into a pulse of light. The purpose of the visceral lighting response is to playfully reward participation with a moment of instant gratification, which in turn encourages further interactions with the artwork or with bystanders.