Interactive Light Well for Finnish town square

27 Aug 2015

Valokaivo is the Finnish word for “Light Well” and the name of the interactive light art installation located in the central market square of the Finnish town, Lahti.

The installation was designed by Studio Lux Nova and Marjut Kauppinen. Studiotec supplied the VC-Dots for the media surface and the reActor Media server. The Invisible developed the interactive digital content and installed the IP camera motion tracking.

After developing the initial design, Marjut Kauppinen and Studio Lux Nova brought in Studiotec’s Tapio Järvinen to determine if the idea was possible from a technical standpoint. Following their meeting and a demo session with the VC-Dot 1 fixtures, Järvinen and Kauppinen built a prototype with an 80 x 80 cm acrylic frosted surface. This prototype was then successfully presented to the city of Lahti and Lahti Energia (local company that manages technical projects for the city of Lahti) and it was decided that the project should become a reality.

The design of the well is inspired by traditional draw wells found in excavations of the town square. It resembles a water well immersed in a granite platform just above pavement level. When passers by walk onto the platform, the well responds by creating white ripples on the surface around the area stepped on.

The interactive component of Light Well consists of a camera mounted above the well, filming people walking on top of it. The video is then processed by reActor Media server that generates interactive video content in real-time and passes it on to the VC-Dots via a P3 System Controller. 29 strings of VC-Dot 9 are installed inside the well to display content simulating blue water.

In addition to the Light Well, four Exterior 400 Image Projectors were placed at the Lahti market square projecting footsteps onto the pavement that direct visitors to the Light Well installation.

The reActor Media server was highly suitable for this type of project because of its many features designed specifically for interactive installations, including several computer vision algorithms and the ease of software customization to allow a quick and easy modification of the installation’s tracking algorithm. Also it was able to handle implementation of custom interactive video content.

Regarding the choice of LED video products, Järvinen said:
“We went for the VC-Dots from Martin Professional because the P3 system setup is so simple to install and do commissioning on. We’ve used it for several other installations and it is highly reliable. Furthermore, the VC-Dots and the VC-Feeder met our IP rating demands.“

The installation took approximately 24 hours to install, including some last-minute on-site configuration.

Valokaivo now serves as a new experiential meeting place and a stage for small scale events for the citizens of Lahti.

Check out this video of Valokaivo.

Credits

System design, installation and commissioning: Studiotec
Lighting Design: Arkkitehtitoimisto Marjut Kauppinen & Studio Lux Nova
Interactive content: The Invisible
Media Server: LightAct

Martin Equipment

VC-Dot 9, 29 pcs.
P3-100 System Controller, 1 pc.
VC-Feeder, 1 pc.
P3 PowerPort 1500, 1 pc.