Light Cloud Prototype

The latest prototype for an interactive light and sound installation we are creating for RAB Lighting’s NYC showroom in Chelsea for design week. Still sorting out the various behaviors, the final install will be a large cluster of these reacting together to environmental sound. More info soon on the opening details!

Minimum Length Joints


We have been experimenting a lot lately with 3D printed joinery for complex piped networks. A major effort has been to find a way to reduce the amount of material in the print in order to minimize the cost.  Naturally, we wanted to automate this process so we developed a script in grasshopper that takes any network of curves and generates  the smallest joint possible at every intersection.   A bit of math made this possible and if you click through you’ll see the logic.

In the meantime you can grab the definition here:  Min_Length_Joint (note: The RemoveDuplicateLines component from Kangaroo is necessary)

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Sound Cell Test


We have been messing around with the idea of making a physical structure interactive. In this case it will be through lighting. The physical part of the installation will most likely be made of parts coming out of rhino + grasshopper, but the UI for how it will behave will most likely be in processing. During the design phase it is important for us to not only see various iterations of the structure, but also how it will behave. We came up with a workflow that allows us to quickly export the three dimensional points from the cells created in grasshopper so they can easily be imported into the processing sketch.

Here are the source files for the grasshopper definition and the above processing sketch: cell

In the rest of this post you can find a simplified version of the processing code above that simply regenerates the structure from rhino in processing using a *.txt file.

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Colored Surface Panels




Here is the  basic definition we have used in the past to flatten a complex surface into 4 sided panels. The definition creates the tooling to cut out the panels and etch a label as well as a colored mesh that can be printed at any resolution to the paper before cutting. You can find the grasshopper definition here that was used to map the color to the mesh.

This is a much more consolidated version of what was used on CHROMAtex  a number of years ago. The new definition was used to make this model for an exhibition we were a part of at Carnegie Mellon.

Download the definition and a sample rhino file: color_flatten

Custom Panel Details


A lot of the work we do with thin paneled surfaces starts simple with flattening a model, after a lot of work goes into creating prototypes and the necessary details to assemble the piece and potentially give it various material textures or additional assemblies. Automating these details with grasshopper is a lot like producing a drawing with construction lines. The final tooling is created with the original panel shape as the base. Below are two examples of how we have approached these assembly details.


Panel with tabs: Click on image to enlarge


X Panel with Click on image to enlarge.

Color Mapping


Color map of CHROMAtex.



We have been fascinated with mapping complex shapes with color. The best way we have found so far is to break a complex mesh up at the logical seams and map the parts along a gradient based on the distance from specific points in space. Here is the rhino file and definition for the geometry in the screen cap below: color_flatten

These files were used to create this model and you can find the definition used to flatten and fabricate(and print!) this mesh here.


Flatten Mesh into Quad Panels



This had been the base framework for many of our thin shell installations. Using this definition as the base we are able to add various panel components for assembly and other details. You can download the definition and sample mesh here: flattenQUAD

You can also find this definition with more integrated functionality in other place here:

Colored Surface Panels