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A studio sun system with light-artist Arnout Meijer – Random Studio

Created by Random Studio in collaboration with Arnout Meijer and RWA Electronics, the project is comprised of a lighting system in Random’s studio that emulates the movement of the sun and the ever-evolving states of natural light.

The custom created dynamic infrastructure and software of the installation allow Random to control each LED light pixel individually and is built to cater for numerous inputs and outputs such as motion detection and wind, heat and sound. By using light as a sensorial element for a common experience, they wanted to synchronise the life inside their working space with the natural movement of the sunlight.

“Collaborating with light artist Arnout Meijer, the ambient system we created mimics the behaviour of the sun travelling overhead in our studio. Light, of course, is anything but static: we observed its movement, intensity and colour temperature to mirror the changes that occur outside and subtly interact with the natural light of the studio. Each day in our workspace will be dynamic, interspersed with little moments of difference and change as the light outside shifts, revitalising the space with the energy of the sun.”

Random Studio

The reactive lighting system consists of 1080 dimmable LEDs, in warm and cold white, integrated into custom electronics. The system is controlled with DMX over ArtNet. This is done from an accompanying custom built application, which contains a full mapping of DMX addresses to physical LED locations, as well as a 3D preview of the space. This allows an intuitive understanding of the space, and how it maps to a 2D texture surface, allowing for an effective content creation process. Various modes and functionalities are included in the control application to dynamically drive the output from a variety of sources. Examples range from direct manual control, to color temperature and brightness changing with the time of day, localized brightness following the position of the sun, and pre rendered animations driving the output. With speakers placed throughout the space, and control using the 4DSOUND system, lighting modes and spatial soundscapes can work in tandem for a more immersive experience.
To explore ways of simultaneously designing for the behaviour of light as well as sound in a space, they have implemented a basic methodology using a single asset to drive both. Because the light consists of a mix of cold and warm white, it can be controlled using two color channels (red and green) in a 2D texture that maps to the space. This leaves the blue color channel available for control of audio sources in the space. By analysing locations of blue areas in the source animation, audio sources can be dynamically created and placed at these locations, with brightness of these areas translating to volume levels. This makes for a minimal design approach for both light and sound information in a single asset, with room to expand by using the alpha channel for additional information.

Project Page | Random Studio

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