UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Associated VEIV PhD candidate at the Bartlett designs interactive installation for Arup HQ

20 July 2015

No.8@Arup Sentiment Cocoon - Moritz Behrens

Moritz Behrens, an Associated VEIV PhD candidate at the Bartlett, has won the third annual No.8@Arup competition with his entry, the "Sentiment Cocoon".

The No.8@Arup “Sentiment Cocoon” is a site specific 20m tall interactive installation designed by architect Moritz Behrens & lighting designer Konstantinos Mavromichalis which collects and visualises the emotions of the buildings occupants.

The No.8@Arup Installation is an annual competition which shines the spotlight on talented designers and emerging architectural practices. Responding to the theme “Designing for People”, entrants were invited to consider how the No.8@Arup Installation should reflect the need for occupants to be placed at the heart of a design brief, creating efficient and comfortable environments whereby people are not only productive yet also inspired, motivated, healthy and happy.

2015’s winning entry the “Sentiment Cocoon” is an interactive installation which seeks to capture people’s sentiments that will be depicted through the medium of light. Exploring new ways of making, the sculpture was fabricated in situ, by a robot.

The "Sentiment Cocoon" is to represent a collective visualisation of how everyone is feeling in the Arup head quarters in London on any given day. To visualise this immediate interaction in real time through the medium of light and to represent the collective sentiment of people working in No.8 was indeed ambitious, as this installation had to be constructed within nine days in a fully functioning office.

The LEDs are four continuous lines totalling 4800 pixels that generate complex patterns and gradients of colour. Running the entire height of the Sentiment Cocoon, circa 20 metres, the LEDs will create an enigmatic display. Natural daylight, pooling into the atrium from the skylights above will blend with the light emitted from the LEDs. This will allow for a rich interaction of varying forms of light which will be diffused through the skin of the cocoon. The translucency of the material will create an effect whereby the suspended Sentiment Cocoon will generate a striking visual display of light that has been informed by the feelings of people working in No.8.

The sentiment will be encoded in different colours and movement. Colour gradients, the velocity of the colour and movement will be represented through patterns. Over time the patterns will become recognisable and therefore people working in No.8 will experience the overriding sentiment of the day within the office.

Moritz Behrens said that Sentiment Cocoon "is exploring the boundaries in architecture on many levels and addresses: lightweight structure, interactive lighting, HCI (human computer interaction), and robotics in building and fabrication. The collaboration between a small creative practice and large resourceful and knowledgeable corporate global company is of mutual benefit towards prototyping our future city."

Moritz's partner in the project, Konstantinos Mavromichalis, described the basis for the design: "What is interesting to me about an atrium is that it is a sensory space that joins together all the spaces adjacent to it, we hear ambient sounds, and we catch glimpses and echoes of conversations. This is the perfect context for the "Sentiment Cocoon", whose function will be to visualise how the occupants are feeling at any given time of day by the recording of ‘sentiments’ via physical interfaces situated in and around the atrium."

The Sentiment Cocoon was facilitated by the Arup team: Greg Chandler, Francesco Anselmo, Christian Dercks, Billy Field, Karima Ihaouane, Farrah Hassan-Hardwick, supported by Health & Safety and Facilities Management.

The No.8@Arup “Sentiment Cocoon” is up until the end of August at Arup No. 8 Fitzroy street, London UK.

See more images of Sentiment Cocoon