The Sentiment Cocoon – Winner Participatory Architecture & Urban Interaction 2016


UK, London

The Sentiment Cocoon is a site specific interactive installation designed by architect Moritz Behrens and lighting designer Konstantinos Mavromichalis for Arup’s headquarters in London. The artwork seeks to capture and express human sentiment through the medium of light. These interactions are then transformed into pulses of light that travel throughout the cocoon. The cocoon generates a striking visual display of light that has been informed by people’s feelings.

The intent was to design a continuous and organic cocoon-like lightweight structure that would wind itself up the atrium and connect all seven floors. The focus is on the exploration of architectural form through digital fabrication, with translucent materials and responsive lighting to facilitate social interaction. The visualisations are designed to encourage individual interactions and collective observations.

When a user swipes her smart card and thus submits her sentiment, a white flash of light instantly illuminates the cocoon. This white flash of light is intended to mirror the participant’s presence and to make her feel like they have actually transformed their presence and sentiment into a pulse of light. The purpose of the visceral lighting response is to playfully reward participation with a moment of instant gratification, which in turn encourages further interactions with the artwork or with bystanders.

The system architecture of the artwork allows for the tracking and displaying of several behaviours. Individual swipe cards such as the London Oyster card enable participants to express how they feel based upon three categories related to workplace wellbeing. These parameters are encoded into lighting patterns that suggest the collective mood of participants. The sentiments are encoded in different colours and movement. Colour gradients, velocity and movement are represented through patterns. Over time, the patterns become recognisable as the overriding sentiment of the day.

The Sentiment Cocoon on Vimeo

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