Kinetic Lighting


School of Visual Arts - 2016
Physical Computing
Role: Design, fabrication

Kinetic Lighting

Kinetic lighting is a design for future architecture, cities, and spaces. Driven by an array of stepper motors and directed by arduinos, this installation explores how a system like lighting can be used to animate built environments, creating a captivating and engaging experience.

As lighting design is a hobby of mine, I used this curiosity to explore how conventional lighting might be transformed in new and interesting ways. 

What if a material or surface could be mechanically manipulated to create moments where light could be both revealed and hidden? 

Experimentation started with flexible bands of plastic. The goal was to discover a method for expressing an elegant and organic motion. The black dots in the schematic (below) represent an applied force (e.g. a motor or linear actuator), while the lines depict a deflected material.




Prototype #1  

The first mock-up was constructed on a simple wood frame and meant to represent a section of a larger system. The flexing material is guided by a slotted track and is actuated by a thin wire.  
A small motor spools the wire at the far end of the model causing deflection. When released, the band relaxes to its original state. 



As the design evolved, an interwoven pattern of leaf-like bands emerged. Milling these shapes from a single sheet of material added to the idea of seamlessness while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic. 


Thinking about larger applications

What if a system like this could viable for application in large public spaces? What if this could be a new type of wall or surface? What if it could be the exterior envelope of a dynamic architectural structure? What if its movement were triggered by ambient conditions like diminishing levels of sunlight or by levels of occupancy within a building?


Prototype #2  

The second prototype explored these ideas. Teaming up with my classmates Jenil, Christine, Wilson, and Ashley we designed and produced a working mock-up of a system that could be modular.