Dynamic light wall in Boston

Just a couple of weeks ago the team at ESI Design finished up installing two permanent LED installations at 177 Huntington Ave, Boston, for Beacon Capital Partners. The building is a landmarked brutalist classic, designed by I M Pei, and  has an enormous lobby that takes up an entire floor. Our project consisted of two design interventions – eleven 20 foot tall LED strips that delineate the elevator bay, and a 90 foot wide dynamic light wall that runs the entire length of the lobby.

The light wall consists of custom light fixtures that were conceived and specified by ESI, and fabricated by IC Tech. The fixtures consist of single lines of LEDs that are housed within aluminum rails and that shine backwards onto the wall behind them, illuminating the concrete texture of the building.

The wall responds to wind, temperature and sun position. As the wind outside changes speed and direction, the movement of light on the wall changes… and as the position of the sun slowly moves across the sky each day, the angle of the rays of light changes across the wall.

My role was lead designer of media design and production, and I worked closely with Mike Hansen and Vincent Houze of AV&C who created custom software in Touch Designer to generate all the media on the wall in real time.

We have yet to document the project properly, but here are a few shots of the light wall that I was able to take quickly on my last day on-site.


Sketching some light

One of the projects that I’m currently working on at ESI Design is a light installation for a building in Boston. Chris Niederer and Michael Schneider designed this lighting set up that bounces a low resolution LED array off the surface behind it… so for a few hours the other night I was making tiny movies and playing around to see what content is going to work best. After a while of gazing at ambient lighting subtly shifting, I was feeling pretty chilled out.

Click on the post title above to see some video of how I’ve been spending some time.

public art proposal

I was very happy to hear that my proposal for a digital mural on the facade of the convention center in downtown Albuquerque was approved by the local public arts board last week. This is a concept that I have been working on, on and off, for several years, with the support of Matt Carter, of Albuquerque public art. Next step is approval by the city council, so fingers crossed…

Renderings by Matt Weisgerber & Ed Purver, using photography by Monica Ruzansky.

some photos from 330 Hudson

My co-worker Ian Campbell took some photos of the video installation that we did for the lobby at 330 Hudson st, in Manhattan. This was another project that I spent a lot of time on last year, so it’s good to see some shots of it. It’s really hard to shoot, because there are nine different LED screens distributed around all the walls of the lobby, so it’s really hard to convey with one photo what the experience is like.

I shot some video while Ian was shooting stills, but I haven’t had time to look through the footage yet…

221 Main St – before and after shots

One of the projects that I worked on the most at ESI Design last year was this permanent video installation at 221 Main St, in San Francisco. Designed for Beacon Capital Partners, the owners of the building, it was an accelerated design / build process that we started at completed in approximately 10 months. I was the lead designer on the project, and I made multiple visits to San Francisco as part of the design and installation process.

The client was concerned that the building was looking dated, and wanted some kind of media intervention to give the property a more contemporary identity, and make it stand out more. On our first visit to the building we also noticed that the actual entrance to the lobby was set so far back from the sidewalk that the building had no curbside presence, and the long walk from the street to the front door was under a dark and gloomy concrete overhang.

To solve these issues, we designed a 125 foot long media surface, that is 26 feet wide in width and which reaches all the way from the rear wall of the lobby to the front facade of the building. We used three different types of LED display technology for the three different surfaces (lobby wall, ceiling and front facade), placing acid-etched glass diffusion at different distances from the different LED resolutions to obtain a continuous image. We

used custom software to display imagery that is synchronized across all of them to create one giant image that flows out from the interior, all the way along the interior and exterior ceiling, before folding up onto the front of the building.

Design by ESI Design, software development by AV&C, and LED supplied, programmed and installed by Advantage.

South East Asia

Courtesy of la familia Ruzansky, Monica and I had our first visit to South East Asia, visiting Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It was amazing.

Colorado Rockies

We spent a few days over July 4th high up in the rockie mountains.  Perfect.


Winter Lights 2013 – Boston Greenway

As a selected finalist for Winter Lights 2013, it was a pleasure to present my concept for a temporary light-based public art proposal for the Greenway in Boston. A collaboration with my brother and sister, Matt and Kate Purver, the concept is to create a temporary installation that displays the past and present emotional life of the City of Boston. Using Matt’s custom software to analyze the emotional tones of the language used on Twitter by people geo-located in the Boston area, we proposed a simple color system to visualize different moods.  Inspired by ice core samples, that show the strata created by changing seasons and climate, the artwork would consist of a column made up of layers of acrylic, interleaved with colored gels that represent the changing ’emotional weather’ of Boston, on a week by week basis, for a 12 month period.  During the day, illuminated by sunlight, the artwork represents a historical artifact – a timeline of how the mood of the city fluctuated over a year.  After dark, the sculpture is illuminated from within, by a spinal column of LEDs, that dynamically light up in a real-time response to the emotional tones of the language being shared on twitter.


Nice street art in Chelsea

Love this print that I saw up on the wall by a gas station on 10th Ave in Chelsea


Portland Airport – finalist concept

I presented my concept to the selection committee at the Portland Airport recently.  The challenge was to create an artwork to extend all the way down a connecting tunnel that is over 1,000 feet long.  My concept was to create a custom software patch so that I could generate extremely long slit-scan images.  As Portland is a West coast city that sees so many visitors from the East coast, my idea was to create vistas of the atlantic and pacific oceans, taken from either coast, and to install them down either wall, so that people walking down the corridor had the experience of passing in between the oceans.  As the airport receives so many visitors who have just traveled across multiple time zones, I also wanted the artwork to reference the strange, time-travel experience that one goes through when flying around the globe.

Using slit-scan image processing, one can play with extending or compressing time within the image.  The idea is to keep the camera static, while the ocean moves in front of it, and then to take a photograph of change over time.  The fascinating thing about slit-scan is that instead of seeing just one moment captured you see a composite image of multiple moments captured in just one single image.

UPDATE: November 2013 – the committee eventually decided that art may not be the solution they require, and did not select any of the submitted proposals. The last information I was given was that they may choose to pursue a signage-based solution instead.