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Emotional Lighting

A light object that shudders when you shout, that breathes heavily when you make it jump or responds to your touch. Fiet by Toer is a responsive design made to engage with the user. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 25-04-2013

On first sight design studio Toer’s latest installation named Fiet is a striking lighting design, but step closer and the object seems to breath, come alive even. Described as “an interactive sculpture that visualizes the emotional impact of movement” a short video of the large object shows it shaking and responding to sound. 

Built out of hundreds of polypropylene cones fixed to a spring steel construction, Fiet is lit by LEDs and moves thanks to an audio sensor and built-in motor. But how does it work? “Using an audio sensor Fiet listens to its environment,” says Wouter Widdershoven who forms Toer together with Castor Bours. “When it is quiet, Fiet moves slowly. When sound levels go up, Fiet starts bouncing around. With a sudden noise it starts shaking, it gets stressed. It ’s like a living organism that interacts with its environment.”

The points of the cones that form the body of Fiet expand or move closer to one another as its ‘skin’ moves. 

“The idea for Fiet is a result of our fascination for movement in design,” says Widdershoven. Toer is no stranger to kinetic design as demonstrated in earlier designs Bongue, an amplifier that works thanks to weights and counterweights or Loef, an autonomous parasol that reacts to sunlight. 

Widdershoven explains the fascination for movement in design: “It allows you to communicate different emotions. A kinetic space brings liveliness to an otherwise static living space.” Designed with a residential space in mind, Fiet would surely brighten any dull dinner party. 

Reacting to a variety of sounds, the spring steel construction of Fiet is able to move in different ways. Although it is in fact an inanimate object, Fiet  shows what seems to be an almost human reaction to emotions such as fear, stress or a state of calm. 

“It was a challenge to make a surface structure that is lightweight, durable and flexible. However, designing the movement itself was the real challenge. It is a trial and error process to explore kinetics in design.”

Now made to be hung in a public space and interact with passers by, it will be interesting to see how an installation made to visualize emotions through movement will influence the emotions of its users. 

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