Before joining Adobe back in 2011, I did a freelance engagement for a really cool project in Paris: the design of a “Light Vortex” that would be the cornerstone of a brand new concept store of a German automotive manufacturer, avenue George V, in Paris.
The architect of the concept store came up with the idea of a “light vortex” that would echo the vortex of steel and glass of the brand’s museum in Germany. Armed with a few sketches and lots of motivation, I worked with a Oyez, a digital agency in Paris who had taken the challenge to turn this idea into reality, and had approached me to help them design an actual system that would do justice to the concept.
The challenges were many. One of the major elements was that compared to the numerous light installations that are created for temporary events, this system had to be designed to run for many years, not just a few weeks. This meant creating something that would age gracefully, would be easy to maintain, all while running pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I therefore designed a system that uses as many off the shelf parts as possible – including a bunch of laser rangefinders! – , and is very easy to drive using just a few computers. At the start of the project, no one in the team was a sound and light engineer, so we came up with a system that is friendly to web and computer graphic designers. This was a great move, since it means that any time someone thinks of a new use for the systems, putting it into action is a matter of hours or work, and not weeks.
Looking back a few years down the line, this installation has been a great success: it is not only one of the most striking elements of the store, but it is regularly used as an interactive lighting system for various events that are hosted in the store, demonstrating how flexible and easy to use it is. One good example is the Kavinsky and friends summer party where the vortex was turned into a night club light system with great success.
Oyez shot a really cool short video on the project which you can find on Vimeo. Static pictures do not do justice to this installation!