Urban weave - A temporary interactive installation



The Berlin Schloßplatz (German for "Castle Square") is a huge empty space which is steeped in history. Berlin, known as the city of arts and culture - or in other words the city of the creative community - has got an empty lot right in the heart of its central area. Since the demolition of the Palace of the Republic (the former seat of the parliament of the German Democratic Republic) in 2008, Berlin is lacking of an idea to add some character and identity to the square until the new development of the castle reconstruction will be completed.

"It’s against this unique backdrop that Lionel Michel and Roland Heuger created Urban Weave, an architectural intervention that perfectly matches the mix of tradition and modernity that’s at the core of what makes Berlin so Berliny." - thecreatorsproject.com

Urban Weave is a proposal for an interactive installation that would temporarily cover the Schlossplatz and allows passers-by to collectively re-shape the space they are crossing.

The basic element of the installation is a spanned web of electroluminescent wire which is attached to a grid of rotatable metal poles. As the poles are bended the head of the pole is pushed away from the centre - the result is an eccentric movement which deforms the cable web. In the case that two poles are oriented to each other, the cables sag - if the poles are oriented in opposed directions, the cable is spanned.

The installation allows the visitor to actively participate in creating and designing the location. Each of them has an impact on the web while he attracts attention to himself by noises. The visitor can walk, stamp, sing or clap - the poles rotate and orient to the given impulses. Impulses spread wavelike, poles react time delayed and with decreasing intensity depending on distance. All pulses are received, interpreted and transmitted to the configuration of the installation. The poles act like curious minds whose attention can be influenced.

A prototype at a scale of 1:66 was produced to simulate and test the control of the poles. The prototype model contains 18 step motors, which are controlled by an Arduino Mega. A Shield for the Arduino and 6 double-sided circuit boards - each of which to control 3 motors - were designed and etched. Sketches from Fritzing served as the basis for the expansion and preparation with Eagle. As a wire substitute simple rubber band is used. People, in the prototype model represented by computer-generated points, are shown by projection to simulate noise and further interaction.



Roland Heuger and Lionel Michel are Berlin based freelance Interaction Designers and Interfacedesign Students at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany.


Thanks for the support to Reto Wettach and Markus Löffler from FHP, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, André Knörig and Daniel Tzschentke.

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