Today’s artists/designers readily push the limits of new materials. They also find inventive ways to incorporate digital and interactive technologies. For creative individuals who love to explore the possibilities of materials and technology it’s an exciting time to be involved in the field.
One of the design firms leading this embrace of new materials and technology is the award winning Jason Bruges Studio in London. Jason Bruges is an established architect who started his own studio in 2002. He employs a team of individuals with specialties in architecture, design, technology, fabrication and environmental issues. The studio has a history of accepting unconventional challenges and then creating solutions that exist at the intersection of architecture, installation sculpture and interactive design.
The studio works with a wide variety of media and solves problems for a wide range of clients, but their time based interactive projects are what interest me the most. A small sampling of those projects includes:
1. A series of billboard-sized monolithic columns with illuminated, constantly changing numbers. The columns were installed next to the freeway in East London and provide motorists with updated information about the environment – information such as the ambient light level measured in lumens, the tide levels of nearby marshlands, and the kilowatt hours of electricity being generated by local wind turbines.
2. A public space off the lobby in a Madrid hotel with grids of embedded colored lights in its walls. Hotel patrons are videotaped as they move about the space and the color of their clothing is mirrored by the lights in the wall. Fragments of the videotaped images are also played back on a delayed basis. The room literally changes color in response to its occupants and their visits reappear as a digital memory.
3. During the day the movements of the two elevators in a London office building are recorded in a digital database. After the building closes for the day the recorded stops and starts are played back to light bars mounted on the exterior of the building. The sequence of lights running up the facade of the building play back a night time memory of that day’s activity.
4. The corridor walls of a children’s surgery ward in a London hospital are covered with a specially designed wallpaper printed with abstract dot patterns that suggest trees lining a quiet path in the woods. Behind the wallpaper are LED panels connected to motion sensors. As young patients move through the corridor, glowing silhouettes of rabbits, horses, deer and other forest animals scamper among the printed trees.
5. At this year’s Illuminating York Festival the Jason Bruges Studio created an orchestrated light piece that emphasizes the ceremonial space of the main nave at the York Minster (e.g., cathedral). Beams of light trace the contours of the space, create a secondary architectural form, and perform synchronized processions. The light show celebrates the craft, form and function of this historic building.
These are merely a few examples of the projects created by the Jason Bruges Studio. Visit the website to see photos and videos describing many more of their hi-tech multimedia activities.