Sommers|Berte Final Presentation + Design Process


The objective of LuftIllumen© is to provide a modular lighting system to be used for the temporary (rental) market. The unique characteristic of this project is that each module would consist of a floating lighting element whereas each module would have different apertures to control lighting for each unique situation. Putting them together would form a floating cloud of light, with areas of dense to little light according to the needs of the particular space.

The original mock-up plan of each singular module consisted of a lightweight shell/skin/envelope that has specific apertures, on extruded surfaces from a basic icosahedron form, that permits a certain light density to be emitted. Inside the shell a large balloon would be fitted with battery powered LEDs and filled up with helium, making the singular module float in the air. All the modules could then be grouped together by magnetic connection points fitted in the shell surface. After taking in the comments at the final review, we are tended to go with the use of independent connection pieces to reduce the weight of the basic modular element.

The elements were created through Autodesk Maya. The icosahedron form is standard in the program. Each triangular side was then equally extruded out of the original form. A triangular opening was created in each extrusion that functions as a light diaphragm. This first object was duplicated and altered to have bigger apertures.

In Adobe Photoshop we created a square black and white image  to form the basis of the exemplary assembly. This was in turn used with a blend shape to shift between the smallest and largest aperture objects.

Originally the size of the apertures were controlled by the height of each module in the overall assembly.  This first digital assembly was derived from the black and white Adobe Photoshop picture that we drew, whereas the white regions were the lowest elements.  The different heights were then broken in five specific heights with their respective aperture at that point.

Each separate element was then imported into Pepakura Designer, where it was automatically unfolded as a cutout sheet. This file was then cleaned up in Autodesk Autocad and prepared for lasercutting. After the lasercut sheets were finished, we just had to fold them to their form and glue it together.

The first fabrication we tested, were two icosahedron forms that each could be cut out of a single Museum Board sheet and folded together. This size was a good study model but proved to be too small to integrate the balloon and LEDs.

The second fabrication we had lasercut was a larger element out of five Pulp Boards. This material might still be too heavy for the ratio Helium to carry the element versus the dead weight of the element itself.

We are still looking for better lightweight materials to test such as Aluminum and plastics such as Polyethylene.

Testing another technique such as injection molding with plastics, could result in the redundancy of the (internal) balloon, and rather use the void within the element to directly be filled up with helium.

Link to final powerpoint: *Final Powerpoint Presentation*

Derek | Frederik

p1_Frederik Berte_23ARCH719_EXOtique

‘EXOtique’ by PROJECTiONE –

‘EXOtique’ is the result of a one week, low-budget design progress through fabrication installation at the Ball State’s College of Architecture. One day was devoted to design, one day of Modeling in Rhino / Grasshopper and materials testing, and three shared days of fabrication, assembly, and installation with help from the students of the University.

White acrylic, white polystyrene and 55 IKEA cord sockets and bulbs are used for the sculpture that hangs on the ceiling above the foyer at the west entrance of the architecture building.


‘Our intention was to create a simple, hexagonally based, component system that would act as a lit “drop ceiling” for the space, as the ceiling height would allow for quite a bit of variation in the surface. Everything was accomplished in Grasshopper other than the input surface from Rhino, this includes all unrolling for fab, label, patterning, and connections. Also, there was no hardware used for connections besides the given hangers for the lamp cords. This cut costs and allowed our materials to work to each other’s benefit. Tabs on the styrene lock into the solid acrylic connectors as a rigid sidewall, causing the material to bend within the component as apposed to its edges. This let all the components meet evenly and create a rigid shell after being connected. The lit hexagonal panels act as the hanger connection point for the piece, and a custom acrylic tab was created to hold the socket cable after being thread through the component, which attach to clips tied to the waffle grid.

Through the use of computational tools (both software and hardware) and good student help, we were able to crank out the project within 6 days. The installation will remain at the entrance for the time being and will then migrate to another permanent home within the building.’

EXOtique Video from PROJECTiONE on Vimeo.

Follow link to watch a video of the progress!