A multi-disciplinary project that utilizes several mediums, LightShowers defies classification. Described by its creators, New York City-based architects Michael Morris and Yoshiko Sato, as an “installation,” the combination of built components coupled with projected video imagery and lighting elements creates a unique environment, which explores themes of light and water “as sustainable and conceptual resources” (right). Explains architect Michael Morris, “We drew our inspiration for LightShowers from conversations Yoshiko had with physicians and complimentary care giver's at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital who have been researching and developing biofeedback techniques as a means to assist in the recovery and preventive care of their patients.” Recognizing the potential that this research might have in a design context, Morris Sato Studio pursued the idea. “We immediately saw greater potential as to how we as architects and designers can contribute something meaningful and useful to people's well being,” Morris states.

The result of this research and design takes the form of a “meditative environment.” A constructed platform raised a few inches off the ground has seven sculptural seating elements referred to as “stones.” When a person sits on one of the “stones” a sensor is triggered and acknowledges the person's presence “by activating delicate arrays of 100 gently-pulsing blue LEDs embedded underneath the platform's surface.” In turn the LEDs are programmed to pulse every seven seconds, synchronized with the rhythm of human breath as well as the video imagery being projected onto the surface of the platform and stones. Three video monitors dispersed across and recessed into the platform allow visitors to view the video at a smaller scale and without any projected abstraction (see image gallery).

The 25-minute-long video, filmed by artist Paul Ryan, entitled, Stationed on a Stone II, was complied from 3 hours of footage of flood tides at Halibut Point near Boston. For LightShowers, “the video was edited and reversed as a negative color to produce an abstract x-ray-like image increasing the visible concentration of water patterns,” explain the designers. Maintaining the ephemeral quality of the piece, the sitting “stones” are fabricated out of Corian in a color called Glacier White using a CNC (computer numerical controlled) process and then hand finished. The material was selected for its durability, its color, and its material qualities.

After showings at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, and the Lucas Schoormans Gallery in New York City, Morris Sato Studio were invited to incorporate LightShowers into the design of Corian's booth for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in May 2007. With a new family of white Corian colors—the Illumination (translucent) Series—the architects were able to continue exploring themes of light, water, and reflection. Three sides of the booth's exterior showcase the Corian color palette, while the fourth side is a series of CNC panels fabricated from the new white Corian colors (see image gallery). Merging equal parts art, architecture, light, material, and technology, LightShowers is an all-encompassing visual and visceral experience. A|L

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Explores the interaction of different mediums to create new spatial environments and in turn a new kind of experience. | Uses technology to further explore light's material qualities.


Project Location: New York Video Artist: Paul Ryan, New York Technical Consultant: SGF Associates, New York Photographer: Carson Zullinger Photography, Wilmington, Delaware Project Size:LightShowers: 144 square feet; ICFF DuPont Corian Surfaces Booth: 560 square feet Manufacturers:LightShowers: Coby DVD, LED Effects, Nichia, Omron, Panasonic, Saunter, Sharp; ICFF DuPont Corian Surfaces Booth: CeeLite, SGF Associates, Panasonic, Westinghouse