For his latest architectural project, Drew Seskunas didn’t design a house or a restaurant or a retail shop, but an interactive light installation, presented at the 2011 DMY in Berlin. Made of folded pieces of laser-cut aluminum sheets and suspended overhead, his BotoxLamp flickers with light in response to ambient shadows and human presence. As you can see from the video below, it’s an effect that can completely wig out a dog.
So what’s the architectural component? Seskunas explains:
Architectural space is always defined by a combination of its outer form and the events that would occur in the space. Like a kitchen has certain specific dimensions that define it as a kitchen, but it is also defined that way because people cook in it. The problem is that one is quite specific (form) and the other is quite abstract (events). I wanted to simplify that relationship, so I could explore it more precisely.
With the help of SAQ Architects, he reduced the “form” to light and the “event” to movement by embedding a networked series of LEDs in the metal sheets. Using an Arduino microcontroller, an open-source electronics platform, he linked an infrared distance sensor, which can read bodies from up to five feet away, and light sensors, which, responding to light levels both outside and inside the structure, trigger the LEDs, whose brightness radiates through the metal facets. “Reading its surroundings through sensors,” Seskunas writes, “BotoxLamp fluctuates between states of alert presence and rambling unconsciousness, comparable to rumbling thunder and flashes of lightning in the distance.”
This is the second part of Seskunas’s BotoxTrilogy — so named because each project “inflates” two-dimensional surfaces into complex three-dimensional architectural volumes. The next phase will be BotoxUtopia, a space that responds differently depending on whether a person interacts with it alone or in a group.