For the retrofit of Hotel WZ in Sao Paulo, Guto Requena Studio created a new interactive façade that responds to stimuli from the hotel’s surroundings. I was brought in by Guto to lead design from initial concepting to architectural construction drawings and to interface with engineering and construction contractors.
The façade is formed by a coat of sheet metal panels that creates a pixelated skin in blue, gray and gold. The colored pattern was generated based on the ambient sound of the building’s surroundings. We recorded 24 continuous hours of audio and then computationally wrapped the sound wave data around the building. The color of each metal sheet was determined by the amplitude of the sound wave at the point where they virtually intersected. Peak levels are gold, moderate are navy blue, quiet are light blue, and silence are grey. The result is an intricate pattern that reflects the local soundscape.
The façade is illuminated by interactive lights. The patterns displayed are real-time reactions to environmental stimuli and people. Sensors were installed on the façade. Ambient sound effects the patterns’ forms and movements. Air quality determines the pattern’s colors. Polluted air is signified by warmer tones such as reds and oranges. When air quality improves cooler colors, blues and greens, appear. Sound and air quality are key aspects in measuring the quality of urban landscapes in large cities. The façade becomes a kind of gauge, indicating how the city is performing in these aspects. In addition, a mobile phone application allows anyone to directly interact with the lights by voice and drawing. The private hotel becomes an interactive public art installation.
At first we believed we could get an interesting pattern of colors based on daylight analysis. We used environment analysis tools to simulate the building’s performance within this context. The result was too homogeneous: a lot of daylight in the front and not so much in the back.
Once we had recorded the ambient sound we found different ways to use the data to determine the pixelated colored pattern. We deemed that these examples did not truly reflect the variances of the local soundscape.
We suggested the idea of having the LED bars shining from bottom up. As such, the light sources would be completely hidden from the viewers that are in close proximity to the building and would create a great overall effect. After sharing the idea with the construction team, we came to the conclusion that maintenance for the LED bars would be too challenging in this case.
I led design from initial concepting to architectural construction drawings. I interfaced with engineering and construction partners to determine feasibility and preliminary budget. I built our winning pitch and communicated directly with our clients.
Guto Requena Studio
Guto Requena - Creative Director
Julio Radesca - Lead Designer
Lucas Ciciliato - Architect
Paulo de Camargo - Architect
Vitor Reis - Design Intern