Luminous Kite Lanterns

Friday, September 14, 2012 - 10:00am


Luminous Kite Lanterns was designed and installed collaboratively by a team led byAki Ishida and students and faculty of Virginia Tech. Digital interactivity was designed in partnership with Benjamin KnappIco Bukvic, and Brennon Bortz. It was commissioned by American Institute of Architect Blue Ridge chapter for their 2012 Design Award Exhibit on September 17, 2012. Sited at the Blacksburg Farmer's Market, this temporary public installation engages the local residents, the university, and farmer's market vendors.

Kites made of mulberry paper sway and rotate together in response to wind. At night, they are lit with LED lights to create a luminous outdoor ceiling. The color of lights shifts from warm white to orange as people enter the space under the kites and becomes intense red as the occupants' motion increases. Ambient sound of wood chimes is heard as people's motion is captured by sensors, creating a multisensory space that responds to people's presence and natural forces of the breeze. In integration with digital technology, Luminous Kite Lanterns brings awareness to our interconnectedness to nature and amongst people occupying a public space.

Luminous Kite Lanterns was funded by the American Institute of Architects Blue Ridge Chapter, Education Grant from The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, and ICAT.

The team for the installation:
Design Director:
Aki Ishida, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Core Design Team:
Carolina Cohen Freue of Argentina, a sophomore majoring in Architecture
Justin Dennis of Clarksville, Va., a sophomore majoring in Architecture and Art History
Jordan Keller of Breinigsville, Pa., a sophomore majoring in Architecture
Kaitlin Vavoso of Alexandria, Va., a sophomore majoring in Landscape Architecture
Interactive Sound and Light Design:
Benjamin Knapp, Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and a Professor of Computer Science
Ivica Ico Bukvic, Associate Professor of Music
Brennon Bortz of San Francisco, Calif., a doctoral student in Computer Science
Mickey Cowden of Elk Creek, Va., a graduate student in Computer Engineering
Taylor O’Connor of Purcellville, Va., a senior majoring in Computer Engineering

Photos by Logan Wallace and Daniel Ayad