Radiance covers a standalone brick fireplace in a mid century ranch home in Broad Ripple, Indiana. The clients rarely used their existing wood-burning fireplace and wanted to change its function. We proposed an ambient lighting piece that still hosts traditional qualities of the hearth.
Radiance was inspired by various shelf mushrooms, based on their form, organizational structure, and component geometry. The mushroom has a distinguishing set of gills that alternate in lengths from the stem’s center point. The lengths of these gills forms a repetitive pattern intended to cover the largest surface area under each mushroom cap. This pattern has been abstracted into our system to arrange each pod, defined as a radial set of 16 plastic components with an LED placed directly behind each. The wiring for the LEDs is embedded within the surface of milled MDF, further expressing the pod’s organizational system. A Passive Infrared Sensor is located at the centroid of each pod, acting as the trigger for the parts around it.
To create an ambient and subtle reactive lighting piece we found it is necessary to dim all 512 LEDs individually. To do so, we developed our own Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufactured through a third party vendor. This PCB houses our Integrated Circuits (TLC5940NT dip-28, made by Texas Instruments) utilizing Pulse Width Modulation (PWM or dimming) on each of its 16 outputs. This allows for the individual fading of each LED. Each of our PCBs corresponds with a pod of 16 elements. These elements pulse slowly out from the center when the sensor is triggered. The Passive Infrared sensor (PIR) is controlled by allowing only a small viewing angle through the acrylic surface, blocking infrared light from all but a designated cone of space off of the surface. These viewing cones have been tuned based on the existing spatial conditions of furniture, walls, and function of the home. Pods are in groups of three and run independently off of eleven individual Arduino Pro Mini microcontrollers.
It’s amazing what you can do when you have the right tools.