Plinthos Pavilion

Plinthos Pavilion is an interactive architectural space that was made for the Interior Design Show (ID10), during 26-29 of November 2010, in Metamorphosis, Athens. The concept and the design of the construction were made from mabarchitects, and the interactive system installation, programming, and media design was made from SoniconLab. Plinthos consists of an architectural structure with an embedded sensorial skin, which transforms the space into an interactive installation of inner discovery and a subliminal exploration of the self. Its structure invites visitors to navigate within thousands of perforations and multiple media layers that blend harmoniously to create a performative and responsive architectural installation, triggering intimacy through masterfully articulated poetic expressions. Each layer is responsible for a particular outcome; however, elements inter-communicate with each other when necessary to exhibit an orchestrated intelligence as one of the structure's fundamental extensions.

More than 20,000 hollow bricks were used to complete the floor plate and walls; but each plinthos reaches a paradox – an identity crisis – as transformation is achieved via misuse, stacking the bricks on end so that vertical voids are oriented horizontally. Inevitably, the porous sides are revealed, thus creating surfaces; openness is accumulated and transparency is employed, allowing the flow of air, light, and sound through them. At certain oblique angles, the structure becomes a conventional wall; however, direct view shows a high degree of porosity. The main construction is built within a “black box” with a single entry point that leads to a space between outer and inner skin, which acts as a service area. The pavilion does not include an external façade, but instead offers a theatrical entrance, which reveals only a glimpse of the interior. The entry sequence is carefully choreographed as the visitor moves from the brightly lit exterior of the exhibition hall to a dimmed monochromatic all-brick interior. Based on visitor proximity to the curved wall, ventilation devices are triggered, blowing fresh air through the porous skin of the structure, allowing transparency to fully emerge. Space breathes through its permeable walls that sync with the synthesized soundscape and the expanding lighting system, transforming the structure into a living organism in which the visitor is completely immersed.

Plinthos Pavilion does not remain in stasis, but rather reacts to conditions such as patterns of human behaviour that shift and affect its compositional properties. Sound, light, and air become expressional elements of the environment, synthesizing a harmonious sensation and inviting exploration through tactile, auditory and ocular channels. A computer vision algorithm scans and analyses visitors' interactions such as motion, presence, position, circulation, energy, or formation clusters, providing multi-dimensional information about spatial occurrences that help the system identify patterns and control media layers accordingly. This process creates a dynamic organism that completely immerses visitors in never-ending patterns of lighting compositions that oscillate in response to visitors’ actions. The accompanying sonic layer enhances this feeling of immersion, extending the perceptual levels using aural excitation mechanisms.

Media prosthetics are fundamental components of this cyborgian object, providing authority of ether and time and transforming its porous structure into a mystical – almost sacred and ritualistic – organism that breathes, reacts, and communicates. The goal therefore of this work's development is to extend the possibilities of an architecture to the post-digital culture, and to speculate on the hybridization of architectural interiors with embedded media layers that contrast the old hard surface with ethereal and responsive qualities of new media and computational technologies. The arrangement and composition of the layered complexity is able to provoke and alter mental states, feelings, and senses.

Tags: interactive, lighting, installation, space, sonic, responsive architecture, biennale

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