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Midwinter Light Up

NACKA STRAND

Check out the demo site

On December 21st, the darkest night of the year, Nacka strand turned a 5000 sqm office building into a giant interactive music sequencer, generating a vibrant light show defying the midwinter darkness. With this the area started its transformation from a quiet residential area into a creative and pulsating new district.

In a great collaboration together with friends at Graviz, Plan 8 and Obscura Digital we took on an inspiring challenge for the Carlyle group: to execute a vibrant light show in a 5000 sqm empty office building by the inlet to Stockholm, defying the darkest night of the year and bringing life and light into the area.
             
Together we developed an idea to turn the building into a giant music sequencer open for the public to interact with. Through an intuitive web interface the audience could turn on and off the lights in the building, generating tones and collaboratively composing a unique track embedded in light. Easily accessed from tablets, desktop and mobile.

Early in the process we teamed up with our friends at Plan8 and Obscura Digital, knowing this could only be accomplished working with the industry’s finest professionals. Plan8 composed and created the fundamental parts of the interactive track and managed the sequencer playback both online and on location. Obscura managed the giant light build and the technical and aesthetical execution related to it.  

Nordic winters and nordic lights were the overall inspiration, gently breaking through the winter darkness with a glimmering turquoise-magenta shimmer.

The visual approach followed the idea of nordic light expressed through contemporary music, distinctly separating the three different instruments through establishing unique shapes and colors. 

The interface smoothly adapted to all kinds of resolutions and platforms without losing efficacy largely due to utilizing vector-based svg’s for the illustrations and interface.
The core of the online application was a Node.js server built to manage multiplayer logics and transport interaction events from online users to the installation in Nacka Strand. By utilizing a modern browser technique called Web Sockets, we could set up a direct connection between the web interface and the computer controlling the LED lights in the building. This way, users’ interactions from anywhere in the world could be reflected in the physical building in real time. For the online experience, we created a digital version of the sequencer, where music and user interactions were synchronized and played back instantly in the user’s browser using Plan8’s custom WebAudio engine. At any time, users had the option to expand a video view to watch the livestream of the house, which was set up to capture the installation.

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