Light Flower 2.0

Light Flower 2.0 is an interactive kinetic lighting installation which was commissioned by Design Society Museum in Shenzhen for the Craft: Reset Exhibition in 2017.

Inspired by traditional Chinese bamboo crafts, the flower unit are composed from cotton fabric and bamboo mesh carefully cut and sewn together to form a semi regid surface in the shape of intricate hexagon geometry using array of Miura Origami Fold developed by NASA. The electronics contraption attached to the flower surface triggered by facial recongnition camera with computer vision, allow the flowers to contract and expand in response to the audience who triggers the movement through a smile, encouraging a positive emotional response between the flower and the visitor.

Light Flower is created as results of study into traditional bamboo and paper crafts under one of Hong Kong’s remaining Shi-fu (craft master) and the design research into increasingly accessible recent IOT devices and digital fabrication tools that are becoming ubiquitous part of our everyday life.

Work technical description:
The Light Flower 2.0 (2017) was built on Light Flower 1.0 (2015) both made in our studio using paper and bamboo after briefly working with one of remaining paper shifu master in Sham Shui Po Mr. Au Yung Chi.

For this iteration, we chose cotton fabric instead of paper to make it more robust but still tried to achieve the material property similar to paper with rigid edges with lightweight quality. We experimented with various fabric and bamboo mesh used for making steam basked for the popular dim-sum dishes that we purchased from local market and tried various glue and sewing technique to achieve clean and even surface finish. We carefully work-out the maximum size of hexagon geometry that was feasible after number of trial and error and it’s sewing sequence given size of the sewing machine we had available. Also we developed glue application method to apply the glue by hand that carefully avoided that sewing line in order to prevent the needle from jamming the sewing machine from sticky glue.

For the contraption mechanism, a single stepper motor was used to keep the electronic mechanism simple and developed lighting programme using a LED ring with a single light that followed the human face standing in front of the installation to give realtime response and flashing lights sequence when the camera detects smile as the flower open and close. All the physical parts were laser cut from CAD and put together with mechanical fixings by hand.

Given the recent trends in wearing face masks in public space, the current design research now focus on using mobile device for interaction (Leave Your Mark 2021).

Type: Interactive Installation
Location: Design Society Museum (Exhibited as part of “Craft : The Reset” exhibition), Shenzhen
Scope: Design and fabrication 
Project Team: Yutaka Yano, Sarah Lee, Janice Lam Yuen Sze, Kira Lo Hoi Yau, Lara Lee Lok Yee, Nisham Limbu, Allan Au (Programming and Electronics Engineering)