New York design agency HUSH looks to inspire our 2016 with an interactive audiovisual installation that embodies the company’s unique blend of designers, architects, musicians, and technologists. Called “Lenses,” the project leverages themes of diversity and collaboration by transforming users into composers of light and sound. By arranging a field of prisms across a customized surface designed to bend and reflect light, users build a glowing, colorful visual array. This is then read by software and translated into sounds in real-time, resulting in a warm, ambient soundscape to accompany the powerful visual composition.
“We wanted the process of developing ‘Lenses’ to be as collaborative and inspirational for our own team as the final product could be for the outside world,” explains HUSH partner David Schwarz. “The core idea is about how we put together our teams and how they dream up our unique ideas.”
Designing the creative software and the physical form factor in-house, HUSH developed “Lenses” on the foundation of their fondness for both beautiful visual design and creative technology. “Most of the team, including myself, are inspired by the simplicity of minimalist light installations and big fans of reflecting and refracting light,” says HUSH creative director, Jodi Terwilliger. “We wanted to take a technological approach to something primitive and apply it in a way that’s both graphic and architectural. Using light and prisms afforded us a beautiful and poetic way to achieve this.”
As a nuanced blending of digital and physical, the installation casing itself pays homage to industrial design luminary Dieter Rams, featuring raised buttons for a more tactile, haptic interface. “It’s super satisfying to push an old-style button like that,” explains Terwilliger. “Especially in the context of what that button produces.”
The initial “Lenses” installation will be permanently installed at HUSH in the hopes of inspiring co-workers, clients, and visitors to collaborate and create. However, HUSH has more ambitions for the installation. “We’re looking forward to adapting the ideas behind this project into a much larger gallery, allowing visitors to control the sonic experience of the entire space,” says Schwarz. “By encouraging play, experimentation, and discovery amongst gallery attendees, the gallery space itself will shift in terms of visual intensity and ambient sound levels. The theme of collaboration will become even more profound – they’ll alter the world around them with light and sound.”
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