EXOtique is the latest project from PROJECTiONE which is a digitally fabricated honeycomb tessellation installation for Ball State’s College of Architecture. The Institute for Digital Fabrication invited them them to produce a piece with help from students at the college. The project requirements they had to accomplish were the next ones:
*Timeline- One week: One day was devoted to design, one day of Modeling in Rhino / Grasshopper and materials testing, and three shared days of fabrication, assembly, and installation.
*Budget- $500 materials budget: white acrylic, white polystyrene, and 55 IKEA cord sockets and bulbs.
*Site- The ceiling above the foyer at the west entrance of the architecture building
Our intention was to create a simple, hexagonally based, component system that would act as a lit “drop ceiling” for the space. The ceiling height allows for quite a bit of variation in the surface. Everything was accomplished in Grasshopper besides the input surface from Rhino, this includes all unrolling for fab, label, patterning, and connections. Also, there was no hardware used for connections besides the given hangers for the lamp cords. This cut costs and allowed our materials to work to each other’s benefit. Tabs on the styrene lock into the solid acrylic connectors, acting as a rigid sidewall, causing the material to bend within the component as apposed to its edges. This allows all components to meet evenly and create a rigid shell after being connected. The lit hexagonal panels act as the hanger connection point for the piece. A custom acrylic tab was created to hold the socket cable after being thread through the component, which attach to clips tied to the waffle grid.
Through the use of computational tools (both software and hardware) and good student help, we were able to crank out the project within 6 days. The installation will remain at the entrance for the time being and will then migrate to another permanent home within the building.