Luminescent Canopy

Beautiful Nature Inspired Content

In late 2019 we were approached to assist in the design and engineering of a digital placemaking feature for the ceiling of a prominent tech firm’s lobby in the heart of Silicon Valley.  The piece would take the form of an undulating waveform made from over 345 glass tubes, each filled with a custom-designed addressable pixel rod.  Somewhere between an abstract lighting installation and a contextual low-resolution video display, the installation looks beautiful both day and night.

One of the requirements of the project was to use addressable diodes that were capable of reproducing a natural warm-white glow, much like a traditional chandelier.  We worked with our manufacturers to source small-batch addressable RGBW pixels with the specific characteristics needed for the project.  Each LED rod needed to be assembled and tested by hand to ensure that the electrical and physical characteristics matched the strict UL requirements on heat dissipation and power draw.

Gensler Architects in San Francisco was responsible for the overall design, with Studio Palanquin handling all of the mechanical, structural, and fabrication elements of the sculpture along with the content production.  Digital Ambiance took on the electrical engineering, LED mapping and content playback, development of the custom LED hardware, and UL field-listing the project.

Installing the glass tubes in place was a delicate process, with Studio Palanquin’s talented engineering and rigging team working long hours to ensure that none of the delicate pendants were smudged or chipped.  Digital Ambiance simultaneously integrated the custom control electronics into the ceiling, ensuring that the system was working correctly.

Studio Palanquin produced beautiful video content of ocean waves, light streaming through the forest, and other scenes from nature.  We mapped this content onto the array using Smode as our mapping platform.  The end result is an installation that looks beautiful all day and creates a serene atmosphere in the lobby in which it resides.

Photos by Jason O’Rear

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