The goal of Enteractive, an interactive installation located at 11th and Flower streets in downtown Los Angeles, was not only to enliven a public space and create a unique sense of place, but to create an experience that allows people to relate to architecture on a human scale.
A Percent for Art project incorporated into the new Metropolitan Lofts apartment building, Enteractive consists of a large “interactive carpet” of LED tiles in the building’s public entryway. When visitors walk on the 16-in.-square tiles, they light up. At the same time, corresponding large squares on the building’s façade light up in the same pattern, tracking human activity and, symbolically, the pulse of the city’s inhabitants.
Visitors on the carpet can simultaneously see the effects of their actions beneath their feet and in a view of the building façade via a video transmission from across the street.
The 176 LED tiles in the electronic carpet are each 16-in. square. Weight sensors under each corner of the tiles are read 30 times per second by a master CPU, activating LED lights. Custom software analyzes the weight data in real time to determine where people are standing and what direction they are moving in. The software generates light patterns based on these data and scales the patterns and interaction according to levels of activity on the carpet. As a result, different visitors may experience different patterns, and the experience changes throughout the day. When the carpet is unoccupied, echoes of previous participants play on the carpet and building face.
The building face features 18 red square fixtures in six rows, corresponding to each floor of the building. The total of 18,000 LEDs are programmed to project extremely bright light toward the west, but reside in carefully designed “U” channels so that light will not project back into tenant units.
“The heart of a city beats with the movement and interaction of its inhabitants. This project takes this timeless concept and transforms it into a mechanism for creating a distinctive sense of place in this downtown LA neighborhood. The linking of the floor sensors and façade lighting add a temporal aspect to the installation that I find quite fascinating. Each of the pieces is complete by itself but is made richer through the ultimate understanding of the linking that is made over time.”
Cameron McNall (principal), Damon Seeley (partner/interactive designer), Kevin Tanaka (programmer)
Special T (LEDs)