Surface - CODAworx


Submitted by Geoffrey Drake-Brockman

Client: Perth Childrens Hospital

Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $300,000

Project Team


Geoffrey Drake-Brockman

Industry Resource

Light Application, Lighting Subcontractor

Light Application


Surface is an interactive light pond at the Perth Childrens Hospital, made from 2,080 pixel tubes. The artwork is part of the “Healing Environment” of the hospital.
“Surface” has sensors so when you move underneath it a “virtual stone” is thrown into its “virtual pond” – causing light ripples to spread out and combine. Sometime a virtual beachball is rolled in instead. This artwork gives kids a pond to throw stones into, right in the middle of the hospital!
“Surface” is the largest interactive light matrix artwork in the world – at 10 meters by 4 meters, and over 16,000 pixels.


The brief called for an artwork that would act as an iconic place-marker for its location in the central atrium of the Perth Children's Hospital, Western Australia. The artwork shares use of curved forms with the building architecture as designed by Cox Howlett, but contrasts with it in terms of colour and interactivity.


The artist worked with the builders, designers and administrators for the project to achieve a fully integrated outcome. The work was recessed into the ceiling and adjustments made in services and fittings to accommodate it. The artist worked closely with the project electrical consultants and the specialist lighting company Light Application - which fabricated and installed the work to his specification. The artist worked on-site to write the software that drives the artwork.

Additional Information

Surface is believed to be the largest interactive 3D light matrix in the world - at 10m long with 16,640 individually controlled "voxels"; (volume elements). It is made up of 2,080 ceiling-hung pixel-tubes containing over 66,000 full-colour LEDs. Sets of four LED pixels are grouped together to create each voxel. It uses some 150 "Universes" of DMX lighting control protocol running under "Artnet". Its control software is written in C