Visualising interactive art installations with Processing and SketchUp

Thibaut Devulder

While developing the scenography for the Symétriades performance, I experimented with mixing the 3D model of our proposed stage setup with a sketch program, to communicate our proposed concept.

This simple example maps an early animation prototype of our Processing program onto layers exported from our SketchUp model of the scenography. The multiple projections are mapped over surfaces using the KeyStone Processing library, while lighting is controlled by dynamically adjusting layer opacities in the program. The mapped animation responds to a real-time spectral sound analysis of a rehearsal recording, as well as mouse movements on the modelled stage screens.

The integration of Processing sketches and SketchUp 3D models has a great potential for communicating ideas of the art installations in an interactive way. To be explored further…

Exhibition: Qubo Gas at Art Connexion

Thibaut Devulder

While in Lille, I got a chance to visit an exhibition by the Qubo Gas collective, with whom we are collaborating on the Ooo-Ya-Tsu performance.

Morgan Dimnet and Jef Ablézot, of art collective Qubo Gas

Entitled "Rêveries des Roches Perforées" ("Daydream of Perforated Rocks"), this exhibition presented at contemporary art gallery Art Connexion showcases some of their latest work, including a recent woodblock print made during a residency in Japan — using the traditional Japanese technique Ukiyo-e — as well as the eponymous piece of the exhibition: a large three-dimensional transposition of their graphic universe into a giant flurry of pleated felt and threads.

Fascinating to see how Qubo Gas manage to express their intricate poetic universe of wild gardens and abstract superpositions of colours and details in so many forms...

Portfolio project
Squint: a micro-exhibition module

Thibaut Devulder

Mining some of our old files recently, we dug up this little gem from 2006: a mobile exhibition module we called Squint. It's an installation we originally designed for a competition in Calgary, for the temporary transformation of an urban space situated under a railway bridge.

Squint in the streets of Calgary (from our competition entry in 2006)

Excited by the idea of the self-building something we would then send to the other side of the world, we took the approach of a foldable crate system that could be deployed in an unlimited number of configurations, playfully modulating the openness — or enclosure — of the micro exhibition space it hosted.

Set on its site and then manipulated by the public, the articulated and perforated little structure offered glimpses of its content to passers-by, "leaking" some of its content to the surrounding urban space.

In another context: Nottingham's Exchange Arcade...

And of course, for easy transportation, the whole thing can be neatly folded into a tiny, self-contained crate containing both the panels and the exhibition materials, ready for shipping!

This was a fun little project and maybe something to prototype again?
Interested? Get in touch with us!

Weaving space: an exhibition of student design work

Tom Hughes

The Master level architecture studio project that 2hD's Tom and Alina ran at Nottingham Trent University this year has concluded with an exhibition in the University's Arkwright building.

The exibition was designed by Alina and featured a dress by fashion designer Kula Tsurdiu (the project client) alongside selected work from the architecture students.


Weaving space: student exhibition

Tom Hughes

Alina and I are leading the Vertical Studio module this year at Nottingham Trent University, as part of the MArch (Masters in Architecture) course. It's a 10 week design studio delivered to both cohorts of the MArch course, aimed at bringing in practitioners with a particular set of approaches, whilst introducing new students to NTU and preparing final year students for their major dissertation projects.

We've decided to build the studio around the notion of weaving — both as an approach to understanding one way of making structure and space and as an analogy for the multi-stranded assemblage of information, knowledge and ideas that go into an architectural design project.

The site we've chosen is what we've termed an 'urban appendix' — a former thoroughfare truncated by the building of Victoria Station in Nottingham, and then overshadowed by its replacement, the Victoria Centre. This unloved backwater will be stiched back into the urban fabric by housing a dressmaker's shop, design studio and workshop.

During the first week the students were set the ambitious target of putting on an exhibition of exploratory models. Following visits to Kula Tsurdiu (acting as client) and the NTU textiles exhibition and weaving workshops, the students investigated techniques of stitching, pleating, weaving and fusing to create their models. It was great to see a lot of careful investigation and reckless experimentation coming together in a short space of time — the students really responded to the challenge and we look forward to seeing their designs develop over the coming weeks.

Inflatable events space debuts at Lille Museum of Modern Art

Thibaut Devulder

Alina and Thibaut are on site for the official opening of the Lille Museum of Modern Art and have been hard at work seeking opinion on — and taking photographs of — our inflatable event space in the grounds.

French Culture and Communications Minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, described it as “very beautiful” during an official tour of the reopened museum yesterday — after diverting from his official route to view the inflatable.

Alina spoke to artist Barbara Gaul (a.k.a. ANNAH), from Düsseldorf, Germany, who said: “The enjoyment with this wonderful pavilion is so great that everyone — despite the summer weather outside — wants to be inside it, and all faces are lit up with joy!

She also spoke to guest Simone Few, who told her: “Not only is it functional but also very sensitive and protective”. Clearly a woman of excellent judgment and, as it turned out, wife of jazz musician Bobby Few.

For more information, see our press release section and our portfolio page about this project.

Event space interior view

Tom Hughes

Our event space for Lille Museum of Modern Art was inflated today — a process that took just 10 minutes. This is the first view of the interior, taken by Thibaut shortly after inflation and uploaded to our Flickr group for this project

Freshly inflated...

Interior view of the curved envelop

There is still a lot to do before the official opening tomorrow, including the installation of flooring, lighting and doors. The team are hard at work... but just two days ago it looked like this:

The whole structure, arriving on site on a small trailer

The whole structure, arriving on site on a small trailer

For more information, see our press release section...

Inflatable event space goes on site

Thibaut Devulder

We have designed an inflatable pavilion for the Museum of Modern Art in Lille, France. The pavilion will house events celebrating the re-opening of the Museum, from 21st to 26th September 2010.

On reopening after more than 4 years of refurbishment and extension, the Museum wanted to hold its celebratory events in a striking alternative to the standard marquee. They called on Thibaut's specialist knowledge of fabric and membrane architecture, and Alina's design flair to come up with the idea for the events pavilion.

Located in the sculpture park at the entrance to the Museum, the pavilion will be the focal point for a week-long programme of events, including the formal opening of the Museum by French Culture and Communications Minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, on September 21st. 

The inflatable structure and flexible design mean that the pavilion can be simply depressurised and stored after the celebrations, ready to house future events ranging from theatrical performances to video installations.

The organic shape of the pavilion is meant to stand out from the Museum buildings behind, making it a clear focal point for arriving visitors. It will help to welcome and introduce people to the extended Museum and its huge, exciting collection of Modern art.

Inflatable structures are an excellent way to cover a large area for events. They are more efficient and interesting than traditional tent marquees. The lack of rigid poles gives a clear floor area, they are quick to set up, look fantastic during the event, and then fold away into a tiny storage area.

Designed to hold up to 350 people for events and performances, the pavilion is constructed of lightweight fabric by specialist manufacturer Inflate and was shipped to the Museum site in a single container. 

When pressurised with electric fans the double skinned fabric rapidly deploys to form a rigid but organically-shaped enclosure, covering a space 40m (130 feet) long by 15m (50 feet) at its widest point.

For more information, see our press release section...

Testing our new inflatable pavilion

Thibaut Devulder

We were commissioned last March by the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern Art, in France, to conceive an innovative pavilion to host the ceremonies celebrating the museum’s re-opening after five years of refurbishment and extension works.

Challenging the existing negative paradigm of event tents, we designed a diaphanous inflatable textile structure to create a mesmerising spatial experience for visitors to the Art Museum and a striking backdrop for its high-profile public events.

We have teamed up with Inflate, experienced makers of successful inflatable event structures, to produce the custom-designed pavilion that fitted within the tight budget of the not-for-profit art organisation, while being versatile enough to host the wide spectrum of events envisaged by the museum, from official receptions to dance performances.

We have just received the photos of the first inflation test of the structure at Inflate's workshop and we are quite thrilled! (Images: Inflate)


More on this after the installation of the structure in Lille at the end of September!
Update: for more information about this project, see our press release section and on our portfolio...

Portfolio project
iHub competition

Thibaut Devulder

This joint entry project, involving 2hD, Boden Associates and Shared Design, provides a beacon for projecting creative thought through a strong formal and spatial presence, connected with the surrounding canal, road and cycle routes and characterised by a light ecological touch.

The Heart of the iHub: a brightly coloured conference theatre in the social exhibition space

This Building Research Establishment (BRE) competition called for an innovative hub and office building to link centres of excellence in the built environment with entrepreneurial business in order to promote innovative and sustainable technologies. Submitted designs were also encouraged to connect the local town community with the building and its agenda of sustainability and innovation.

The brightly-clad conference theatre pod sits within a highly flexible and dramatically-lit exhibition space, which in turn acts as the activity heart and connective node of the complex. The greened roof above the exhibition hall innovatively reconfigures the site topography providing a new habitat for local ecosystems and driving the natural ventilation inside. 

For this competition entry, we extensively used storyboarding techniques to communicate the social dynamics of our proposal. In particular, we presented the way the public would experience the spaces, from the dual perspectives of two fictional characters meeting at iHub: Tony, a resident innovative builder, and Deborah, a potential investor visiting the centre.

Our key achievements in this project:

  • establishing the right level and pattern of connections with the local town
  • distilling the client’s main values needing to be addressed in the project
  • establishing the relational logic of the set of activities to be accommodated
  • determining a fundamental and innovative sustainability strategy
  • marrying sustainability aims with an exciting experience of visiting or working in the building

Portfolio project
Broadsheet Trees

Thibaut Devulder

What do the people of Nottingham think about the built environment around them? How do they interact with it? What role do they have in the future development of the urban space in which they live? How do they imagine this future?

As part of Architecture Week 2007, we teamed up with people from Casciani Evans Wood to create an interactive exhibition — Broadsheet Trees — that would voice the opinions and aspirations of the Nottingham people about their city.

Situated in the neoclassical Arcade Exchange in the heart of Nottingham, just a few steps from the City Council, the exhibition took the form of a series of stylised ‘trees’ on which passer-bys were invited to express themselves using colour-coded leaves that they pinned up on the branches. As the exhibition went on, the trees grew into large colourful objects, creating an intriguing and engaging platform for public expression.

As the exhibition goes on, the trees grow into large colourful objects, creating an intriguing and engaging platform for public expression

With more than 500 entries in a single week, the exhibition was a great success. The Broadsheet magazine later added the voiced opinions to their website, inviting visitors to participate in a public debate about the future of Nottingham’s cityscape.

Designed to be easily manufactured on a tight budget and assembled with simple handtools, we have since helped on many occasions local grassroots organisations to use these trees as a friendly and fun way to engage their communities in public consultations and events.

This project was commissioned by Arts Council England, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architecture Centre Network.

The project was run on a very tight budget and timescale, so we made sure that all the elements of the installation could be made quickly by ourselves