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IA10: Hack your home, shut your earlids and a pixel cloud...

  • Date:Tuesday 19th October, 2010 12:00am

Interactive design and architecture were the themes of this inaugural conference held at London Met’s north campus Graduate Centre. The conference, organised by Metropolitan Works, was attended by design and architecture students, practitioners and enthusiasts alike.
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Curator, Fiddian Warman, founder of Soda Creative said, “Today’s conference is aimed at encouraging dialogue between architecture people and digital creatives” before introducing the first speaker of the day, interactive architect, Jason Bruges – who launched the first theme – Sensory: Sound and Light.
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Jason Bruges introduced his interest in the realm of interactive architecture – which seems to have roots in his father being a computer programmer and his mother, an artist. His studio has completed inspiring works in the last year including the stunning Pixel Cloud for Allen and Overy in London and the profound video matrix-enhanced Platform 5 at Sunderland Station
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Michael Spencer, of Sound Strategies, was up next. “Life is getting noisier,” he announced, “iPods and the like are defence mechanisms, and as a result we are getting less sensitive to the changes going on around us.” Sound Strategies has explored how sound influences our impression of a brand. There are, Michael said, serious design implications in sound. He added: “Bad sound can make beautiful design futile.”
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Eva Rucki, the founder of art and design studio, Troika, walked the audience through three projects her organisation has worked on over the last year. The Nature and the City exhibition at Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion for the Shanghai 2010 World Expo was a highlight, which featured three separate installations that looked at the crossroads of greenery and urbanism. She noted that certain audiences have come to expect interactivity, which resulted in a curious response of visitors clapping their hands in order to ‘prompt’ the (non-interactive) Light Rain exhibition in Shanghai.
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The second theme of the day was, Metaphysical: Materials/Structures, skins, information systems and the internet of things and first to the stage was Armand Terrulli – whose company, Vector Foiletec, invented the use of Texlon –“the climatic envelope, over twenty five years ago and has successfully developed and promoted the use of this innovative technology worldwide.” A central piece of Vector Foiltec’s work is the biome covering of the Eden Project in Cornwall – which is the largest greenhouse in the world. Another project familiar to Londoners, is Devonshire Square in the Liverpool Street area. The idea behind much of the company’s work, according to Armand, is “take reptile detail, blow it up, and get building. All of our buildings are interactive, because we need to keep them structurally inflated.”
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Duncan Wilson, or Arup Foresight spoke next, his 11-strong team are spread across the globe, and look at the merging of sciences and other disciplines, the combination of sectors to create new business, and the convergence of technology. More information can be found at this research blog.
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Tinker London Georgina Voss spoke about “hacking your home,” an idea that explores bridging the digital/technological with the personal. She discussed the use of Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Homes are elaborate systems filled with complex behaviour – and so we should “build interactivity around your own complexity”, ie, build the technology around the user.
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Many thanks to Magnus Larsson for his notes from the conference

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