The D3 Interactive Environent is a collaborative project developed by Estudio Guto Requena and i|o design. It’s a space that reflects the architecture and design constant search on exploring new possibilities offered by the digital technologies, in order to add new layers of interaction and narrative to our daily life. The space is located in a 55m2 commercial room at Avenida Paulista, one of the most important avenues of São Paulo. Situated in the vicinity of MASP – São Paulo Museum of Art, a Brazilian architectural landmark designed by the architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1968. The space is the new headquarter of D3, a digital producer company that works along with publicity agencies on the production of interactive experiences.
D3 is a curious, young and lively company, notably open for new experiments. Most of their works are focused on the development of websites and applications in which they always prioritize an interactive and unexpected approach. Within this context, the architects’ biggest pursuit was to create an architectonical identity where experimentation and dialogue were present in the creative process as much as in the final results.
The image of an unfinished space invites people to participate, making them an essential piece to complete the meaning of the space. On a more abstract level this concept appears through the preservation and emphasis of some original features from the building. The old carpet was removed and the remaining floor received layers of resin, highlighting its imperfections. Following the same concept, the ceiling finishing was removed and all the electric, air-conditioning and hydraulic systems were incorporated as important aesthetic elements in this room. The rustic treatment of the basic structure is partially covered by the woodworks, carefully designed in order to create different visual effects according to the proposed narrative. With an area of only 55 square meters, every corner of the space instigates the visitors’ eyes to different angles, textures, colors and lighting patterns. Three kinds of wood and different shades of blues, greens and purples were used for the chromatic identity of the space.
The furniture was designed to allow flexibility of usage, reinforcing an invitation to the clients to actively participate on the space reconfiguration. Its layout can be transformed through the relocation of the wheeled furniture, which has been dimensioned to be easily adapted to different needs. As a result the workstations can be constantly rearranged and the space can be configured as a big meeting room, be ready for a video game round or even a movie session. Inspired by the projects developed by the company itself, space interactions were conceived in a way that they go beyond the physical space. Different groups of sensors detect information about the usage of the space and turn them on different lighting patterns on a side panel composed by light triangles, visible only when they are turned on. So, the space becomes a live thermometer of the relationship among people and its environment.
The creation of the interactive narratives mixed up architects, clients and guest researchers in a cooperative multidisciplinary workshop. Assorted groups analyzed the space and the daily people behaviors in it, and matched up these data to the sensors and different kinds of interaction that could happen in the office. The result gave us enough material to create a pattern of behavior, based on the day-by-day activities of the clients.
The standard behavior makes use of the data collected by ultra-sonic distance sensors installed on the ceiling structure. There are six sensors that capture nuances of people moving around the space, which triggers different lighting patterns along the day. Since the patterns are showed throughout the whole day, it was developed a soft and discreet movement that acts as peripheral information. The light triangles also react to other two events, the first one refers to the people coming in and out the office, every time a door is opened or closed a specific lighting pattern goes on. Given that people in the company have daily habits such as having breakfast together, the sounds in the kitchen are also captured generating a more dynamic lighting pattern that represents the interaction among people.
Following the logic of an open process and outcome, the whole interactive system is connected to the Internet, expanding the possibility of space appropriation by the clients. In order to do that, a PHP commands library was created, allowing access to the sensor values and control of the lighting triangles. The clients can, for example, make clicks on their website change the lighting patterns of the triangles. On the same way, they can use the collected data by the sensors of the space to change the background color of their website. In a time when websites are seen as a virtual dimension of a company, its straight connection to the space and its activities, integrate these two instances in a dynamic and innovative way.
The project for the digital producer headquarters is a result from a new generation of designers and clients who aim to explore original approaches to work, characterized by experimentation, openness and cooperation within the processes. It shows that even with a limited budget and in a developing country such as Brazil, where hardware and software are still imported and associated to high costs, it is possible to work creatively with interactive digital technologies adding poetic layers and narratives to our spaces. On this project the development process of the interactive system occurred along with the design of its shape, color and material, expressing through them the ideals of the people who occupies it.
The final result is the integration between physical and virtual instances in one single project, in a way that it extrapolates the functional discourse among which technology is normally associated. In a world where objects, cars, clothes and spaces exchange information with people and detect their emotions and needs, there’s a need to reflect on how to use, amplify and add new relations between man and its habitat. It’s on the architects and designers role to manipulate this technology in order to create places and objects that inspire creativity and imagination on people daily routine.