Moskito Island: Spiral Staircase

Animated Accent Lighting in Caribbean Home

In 2020 we began designing a dynamic centerpiece for this high-end residence on a private island in the British Virgin Islands. The goal was to link the open-air ground floor with a second-story viewing platform. Our design intent was to create a dynamically illuminated staircase that combines cutting-edge materials and world-class next-level lighting content.

Tropical ipe hardwoods were combined with a bamboo-polymer hybrid diffuser to blend the sculptural form with the natural look and feel of the rest of the property. The subtle diffusion layer creates a softer illumination from the LEDs when lit, and fits seamlessly with the appearance of bamboo inlay within the epay hardwood when at rest. 

The lighting design and build/engineering teams worked closely throughout the project to best implement the structure and the embedded LEDs. The result is a seamless aesthetic, with no visible wires, connections or hot spots behind the diffusors.  Many weeks were spent on-site installing the pre-fabricated pieces, wiring the electronics, and programming the final installation. 

LED Technology:

We used a custom addressable LED product made specifically for this project.  It was designed to be IP68 submersible and features a “failover” circuit preventing a single failed LED from disrupting the chain.  

Custom LED drivers were developed allowing us to run pixel data over long distances.  We coupled these drivers with an advanced volumetric control software which gave us the ability to design lighting patterns in 3-dimensions.  This lets us treat the entire property like one large volumetric canvas and control all of the addressable pixels from a central system specifically designed for this type of project.

Content Programming:

The programming of this installation was a main consideration from the very onset of the project.  The lighting designer specializes in advanced volumetric lighting, and over the years we have developed a whole set of tools that allow us to drive patterns across 3 dimensional canvases such as this.  We treat all pixels the same, whether they live within video screens, abstract LED sculptures, projections, or any other form of dynamic light source.  What this means is that when we design content, we design looks that can flow through an entire environment, creating true immersion.  This system is specific to our process and used exclusively by our firm.  It allows us to create works of art that are unique and completely bespoke with content only limited by our imaginations.

Programming: Smode

Build & Design: One Hat One Hand

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