The Bartlett School of Architecture


When in Dome

Amy Goodchild

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When a group of people are engaged in the same experience, a profound feeling that ‘this is happening to all of us together’ can arise. The Dome is a spatial light installation for exploring group interactions and shared experience. Participants’ interaction with the space and with others directly generates the light patterns along the dome’s surface. 

A four-metre geodesic dome forms the structure of the installation, the geometric interconnectedness of the struts mirroring the connectedness of the group of participants within. Facing inwards on the surface of the dome, 33 triangular panels contain LED strips arranged into triangles and pentagons. The location of each of these LEDs is mapped and they can be individually controlled, allowing for animations to be rendered across the dome’s 3D surface. The LEDs are gently diffused with white fabric, which is sewn together from triangle sections billowing into the space, creating a soft and welcoming atmosphere. 

Participants interact with the dome’s surface by picking up a handheld tracker. Designed to be inviting to hold, the reflective half is tracked with infrared light by a Kinect (motion-sensing device) mounted high up in the space. 

As the group waves the trackers through the air, they are able to control the geometric lights above the space. They can draw dynamic lines together, which create multicoloured explosions when they intersect, inviting the participants to collaborate in their interactions. Group phenomena such as connection, collaboration and shared consciousness are explored through interaction with The Dome.