Working collectively, four graduate students have transformed their clients’ traditional and rarely used fireplace into something completely new. Entitled Radiance, the project is intended to exploit the traditional qualities of the hearth by re-centering the focus of the home around a contemporary ambient environment. The clients’ background, one an artist and the other an architect, allowed this project to become more of “a commissioned artwork rather than a client-based architectural intervention” – an opportunity that truly allowed PROJECTiONE to further their theories and interest in their plyLight sketch prototype.
More about the project, including images, after the break.
Inspired by the form, geometry, and organizational structure of shelf mushrooms, a series of pods – a radial set of 16 plastic components with an LED and a Passive Infrared Sensor – was arranged within an abstracted system. A Grasshopper definition was developed to create the overall pattern and generate final fabrication files, including toolpaths for acrylic and MDF milling, as well as wire length calculations for each component.
As far as construction, most of the elements were fabricated off site and attached to a metal framework that was erected around the fireplace. The MDF is the structural armature for all wiring, sensors, circuit boards, and plastic components. On the front side, the main LED wiring is exposed to express the organizational pattern while the reverse side contains all sensor, power, and serial wiring.
The 512 LEDs in the pods correspond with 16 different Printed Circuit Boards (designed by the team). The boards have Integrated Circuits (TLC5940NT dip-28, made by Texas Instruments) utilizing Pulse Width Modulation (PWM or dimming), allowing the LEDs to be dimmed individually which creates a subtly varied setting.
The elements then pulse slowly out from the center when the sensor is triggered. There are two pulses that occur after triggering a pod’s sensor. A primary ‘pulse’, that fades to full intensity and quickly fades off, followed by a secondary ‘pulse’ which fades on quickly but dims slowly over nearly a minute. This pattern can be interrupted as new users trigger a pulse creating the dynamic lighting affect.
The lighting effect creates “dynamic changes in intensities across it surface,” providing a constantly changing centerpiece for the home. ”By creating simple geometry and interactions at local levels we could render complex reactions and forms in the overall scheme. Though it was developed and organized through its sub-components, the result is a continuous system which reacts uniformly,” explained the designers.