News » POSTED 17.07.2015

Smart Flexibility Floor Talk: Melbourne Exhibitors

Join Melbourne-based researchers Nicholas Williams, Dr Chin Koi Khoo and Dr Malte Wagenfeld on a tour of their projects on display as part of Smart Flexibility. The works - Penumbra, Lumina: A Luminous Cloud and Aesthetics of Air: Visualising the Invisible have been selected to form part of the touring Materfad exhibition.

'Penumbra', Professor Richard Blythe, Associate Paul Minifie, Nicholas Williams, Scott Mitchell, Daniel Prohasky, Amaury Thomas, Joshua Salisbury-Carter, Brendan Knife, Wenjin Lai, Todd Dawson, Guangshan Pan. Image courtesy of Marc Morel and Nicholas Will

Professor Richard Blythe, Associate Paul Minifie, Nicholas Williams, Scott Mitchell, Daniel Prohasky, Amaury Thomas, Joshua Salisbury-Carter, Brendan Knife, Wenjin Lai, Todd Dawson, Guangshan Pan.  

Penumbra explores the design and fabrication of an active building skin system. The system is composed of a collection of variable components which together operate as structural enclosure and a highly articulated surface to meditate environment and light. At the centre of each component is an aperture which can switch between transparent and opaque. This aperture is programmable, containing microscopic particles controlled by an electric charge. This tiny manipulation of matter enables major visual and environmental effects. This building skin system modulates light between interior and exterior. Daylight can be controlled to provide solar shading while simultaneously evoking other effects such as the dappled and dynamic lighting within a forest. At night, through the manipulation of interior light, it works as a pixelated, luminous screen to create shadow images which can move over the surface of a building.

The prototype extends a concept proposed by Richard Blythe, Paul Minifie and Jan van Schaik in their architectural competition entry for the ‘House of Fairytales’ for a site in Denmark. It develops this concept to application targeting a range of large buildings such as airports and institutions.

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'Lumina: A Luminous Cloud', Dr Chin Koi Khoo. Image courtesy of Dr Chin Koi Khoo.

Lumina: A Luminous Cloud
Dr Chin Koi Khoo

Instead of adopting highly intricate and expensive materials, this research project is explored through accessible and off-the-shelf materials to form a responsive material system, called Lumina. Lumina is implemented as an architectural installation called Luminous Cloud that serves as a morphing architectural skin. Luminous Cloud revitalises an existing, underused, dark, interior corridor through its physically responsive morphing and luminous effects. These effects are achieved through three responsive capacities: sensing, form changing and illumination. Instead of serving as a typical architectural lighting feature, Luminous Cloud performs a different role by offering an alternative animated lighting aesthetic with shadow play and responsive ambient illumination. These luminous effects create a mutable and malleable architectural lighting aesthetic that transforms the atmosphere of the existing interior space to induce a greater degree of social interaction. 

Dr Chin Koi Khoo is a teaching scholar in architecture design with the school of Architecture and Built Environment at Deakin University. He is a recipient of an Australia Postgraduate Award and completed a PhD at the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), RMIT University. His current research explores the potential of adaptive architecture through synthesising material systems with dynamically responsive behaviours and properties. Dr Khoo has extensive experience in interdisciplinary teaching and research especially relates to the fields of responsive environment, computational architectural design, material computation, digital fabrication and human-computer interaction. He has lectured and taught at RMIT University and University of Melbourne. 

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'Atmospheric Sensitivity', Dr Malte Wagenfeld, 2011. Image courtesy of Dr Malte Wagenfeld

Aesthetics of Air: Visualising the Invisible 
Dr Malte Wagenfeld

Malte Wagenfeld is an industrial designer, academic, researcher and artist whose explorative installations, designs and writings have been exhibited and published internationally. Recent projects have seen a shift towards the exploration of interior and exterior atmospheres and experiential environments. At the centre of this investigation sits his current project Aesthetics of Air; a phenomenological investigation into sensual and perceptual atmospheric encounters; sound, light, air, breezes, smells, humidity and temperature.

Malte is senior lecturer of Industrial Design at the School of Architecture and Design, and the current Research Leader of the ‘Urban Interior’ research group at the DRI (Design Research Institute) at RMIT University.

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Floor Talk: Melbourne Exhibitors - Nick Williams, Chin Koi Khoo and Malte Wagenfeld »
Thursday 6 August, 12.30 - 1.30pm
Project Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2