Team Ignite

Text: Thijs de Koning Banner photo: Diede van Marle Photo: Emily van Leemput

Hi there, I am Thijs de Koning an interaction designer of Team IGNITE. At Team IGNITE we have worked on an interactive and modular light installation for GLOW 2019. The installation is called ‘Hypar’, which refers to the hyperbolic paraboloid shape of the construction. We chose for a hyperbolic shape, so that visitors could walk underneath the installation. Which is an extra dimension of the experience. Together with the Interaction and Sound design team, I have worked on the experience for Hypar. In addition to that, I’ve helped a lot with constructing the installation. For instance, during the summer holiday, we’ve already started with the production of Hypar. In these weeks we had to drill a lot of aluminium profiles and build all the 160 cubes. When GLOW came closer, and the pressure began to rise, we organized construction evenings and a test weekend to keep on track. These evenings were often combined with a team dinner and some cold beers.

With the interaction team we worked with data from last year, when Team IGNITE presented Loop at GLOW 2018. Furthermore, we already knew about the feedback possibilities we needed to work with. With this information, we started the ideation phase which resulted into three concepts. During the design process we closely communicated with other disciplines in the engineering team, to validate the feasibility of our concepts. We used the FROGGER framework and other literature to make the interaction more intuitive and interesting for GLOW visitors. The shape of the interaction surface is based on two values. Firstly, with the interaction surface shape we imply to swipe light into the installation. Secondly, the organic shape of the interaction surface links to the organic shape of the installation. We decided to make use of sound, to add more expressive feedback and create an immersive experience.

When the preparation came to an end in the Innovation Space it was time to move all the cubes to the city centre. Moving and constructing Hypar took us around five long days. At the Market square we needed to assemble all the arches and, with the help of a forklift, attach the arches to the main foundation. For me and the team, it was the first time we saw a fully constructed Hypar in reality, which made us even more excited for GLOW. After the main construction was finished, we still needed to do some tests for electronics, interaction and needed to do some additional waterproofing. It was an exhausting week, filled with short nights and quite some problem-solving. To keep members motivated, the construction week was fuelled by a lot of caffeine, snacks and good music. Despite some set-backs, the team managed to finish the installation, just before the start of GLOW.

It was a big relief when the installation was up and running. During the week of GLOW, we were there every evening, to tell about Hypar and help visitors with the interaction. After every shifts we had some drinks, luckily the bars where not that far away. This was the time to reflect on the evening in an informal way. Being part of this team is a lot of fun, especially the good humour of team members, however it’s still an amazing learning experience. For me as designer, Hypar was a great opportunity to develop an interaction from concept to implementation. During the evening we had time to gather insights, which we used to tweak during the day or will use for future developments. As I had the chance to observe the end-users, in this case GLOW visitors were the end-users, I could identify which design choices made an impact and which didn’t. Overall I am satisfied with the results of the interaction, the organic interaction surface invited visitors to swipe light into the installation. Next to the understandability, we saw a lot of happy children also surprised adults. Which made me feel super proud on what we have realized as Team IGNITE.

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