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How Flyfire is bringing Lighting Design into a Whole New Realm (Video)

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ | Flickr

The work going on over at the SENSEable City Lab at MIT will really make you think. You might start by simply asking yourself what would happen if little omni lights (think stars in the sky, but much much closer) could move around responsively and dynamically through space — and move transiently in coordination with one another. Well, this direction is what the group over at MIT is working on right now — and their project is called Flyfire.

You may already know what can happen when you start with just one pixel-like point when working with computers to design architecture in programs like AutoCAD or 3D Studio Max. But, what will happen when when that pixel-like point becomes more of an omni light in real life— a three-dimensional point in space that has the ability to harmonize with others of its own type?

For starters, these little hovering lights can be orchestrated to yield not only two-dimensional displays that light up in a rainbow of colors, but can further align themselves into three-dimensional free-forms or sculptures. It kind of gets one thinking about what might happen, from an experiental point of view, if people could literally walk-through light displays, where architectural boundaries become not only transient, but also immersive — bringing what was mostly only possible in virtual worlds into real-world space.

In real life, these illuminated light points in space are no longer solely “fixed” due to gravity, being tied to a suspending cable or other means. Instead, they can fly by hovering and acting almost like a flock of birds — giving you, as a designer, a new way to think about the lighting design of an architectural experience.

Additionally, by adding other factors like color, narrative, personalization and so on, I see that the research developments of Flyfire hold tremendous potential for architects that may want to integrate a high-tech interactive fabric to immerse occupants by appealing to their senses in some fresh and exciting ways. I can see that such a collection of “flying” lights might make occupants feel like they are swimming above water, traveling through a beautiful display assembled just for them, which perhaps you as a designer created by quite literally embedding rules by which to move those geometries around.

To take a closer look at how Flyfire works, simply watch the video below:






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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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