Day for Night is an interactive light and art festival in Houston, TX that showcases innovations in digital, projection and light art. In 2016, a few of us designers, from the architecture and interior design firm Gensler, were asked to create a small installation to showcase in one of the VIP tents.

We wanted to create something that people could inhabit and interact with. Many of the installations used computer programing to achieve a dynamic experience so we wanted to include an element of that in our project; however, none of us knew how to program. I spent a few months learning about programming and electronics in order to better understand the technology and processes that may have been used in the other exhibits.

Through this research, I came across a project from Adafruit.com which inspired the final project.

active DFN
Day for Night tent installation

 

How’d We Do It

Programmable LED’s were used to create an infinity mirror effect inside boxes that were stacked at different angles to reflect the environment inside the VIP tent back into the installation and overlay that reflection with a light show. A bench was built around the installation so people could sit next to it at eye level and see through to others sitting on the opposite side.

Inside each box is an Arduino Teensy LC microcontroller that contains the code for the light show. To get the infinity effect the LED’s are situated between two pieces of 2-way mirror which allows you to see through the mirror while also seeing a reflection. The lights are reflected infinitely through both mirrors reflecting in each other.

To create more activity in the boxes, a pattern was laser etched onto one of the sheets of glass. The cuts in the glass allowed the light to reflect off of the grooves and create an illusion of the pattern being lit up.

The light show was created over a few weeks before the final install of the mirrors. The code was developed with the Arduino software by Dev Dungeon.

programing the boxes
on-site programming, the LED’s for each box

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