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THE Billboard that Breathes

Every once in a while a brief that really inspires comes along. This one was a breath of fresh air.  Time-coded fans to suck in air, an Air Quality Monitor, Real time display, loads of metal, mesh, pristine white hepa filters, and finally a compelling message.

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Minimal Tech maximised

This billboard was more an urban intervention meets brand activation meets experiential marketing.

Fun Fact: While it was one of the littlest billboards around the city, (we did make the Abbys Goafest 2018 shortlist…OOH), the real kicker here (read win) was that well-over 2 and a half million people saw this creative output. Not bots…or counting the eyeballs on-site. With the budgets we had when we made it, every single reaction on digital was organic. The good stuff. Happy to see millions of people care. Humanity…we still have faith in you.

The making of ‘THE Billboard that Breathes’ was fun. Artist, Coders, THE Workshop team, Art, copy, welders, things moved swiftly at THE Workshop.  On-ground it was tougher to get the billboard up than we anticipated. Plus we didn’t have a budget for a crane. People power!

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Long story short. We made an explainer video VO,  edit, et all. Somehow, Brut made a better one. We like the brut video. Peppy stuff.

Here’s the FB post that went viral: Love it when people comment, there were over 1500 concerned people. And thousands and thousands of shares. Whoopiee! Job done.

This is what we made.

The media did catch wind of this. Press mentions always make THE work feel a tad bit more rewarding. Here’s what they had to say:

The New Indian Express
Deccan Chronicle 
Times of India
The News Minute

Kerosene Digital

My Times Now 
UC News 
Daily Hunt 
Indian Express 
Times Of India (2nd article)
Newsfeed.co
News 18

Bangalore is just the start. India needed this installation. A movement has begun.

Part II : The Evidence reaches the right people.People who can change things.

 

Clean air –– THE people are fighting for you 🙂 

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THE TIDAL EPIC: LIQUID, METAL, LIGHT

Once upon a magical moon, a ‘fearless artist’ decided to tell a story of the tides. Heart full of flowers, she needed help to make Tidal, a ‘geofeedback’ installation that bridges the gap between water bodies outside and inside us. THE Workshop stepped up to build a suspended storm of metal clouds, illuminated with thousands of LEDs that pull from tidal data and flow in time with the river. When you interact with a large silver moon-like bowl of water placed in the centre of the installation- you start to pull light towards you, from one body of water to another. This went beyond the usual

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Could we make this at THE Workshop? And then ship it across the seas to the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh?

Challenge Accepted 🙂 🙂 🙂

From under the bridge to the outdoor structure, the final location where the installation was to be built changed , so the installation changed form, and code. Every iteration looked beautiful.

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Thousands of LEDs embedded in over 30 huge metal clouds forming a spiral vortex, code directing it as it hovers over a four-foot moon shaped bowl filled with water. Water that responds to your touch. Water that links you to the river. The LEDs programmed with over three years of the live tidal data. The patterns flowed, matching Shilo’s artistic vision. It was a great team effort making the tech happen, sensors, moon bowl, weeks of intense wiring, soldering, rewiring, testing, and all that jazz. Twas’ a fun monsoon.

Packed to perfection, Tidal travelled 13,634 km from THE Workshop, at Nagwara, Bangalore to Point State Park, Pittsburgh, USA.  Coincidentally, it was the first international build for THE Workshop. We literally had our heads in the clouds for the whole week we spent assembling it in there.

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Tidal was a massively precise build. Made possible by THE team of asskickers: Srinidhi, Juneza, Gopi, Sanjay, Purvi, Naseer, back in India, and Heather, and everyone else who helped in Pittsburgh.

Here’s the MAKING video:

 

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The finale. A beautifully interactive geofeedback installation in a giant white geodesic dome. We could say Tidal was a geostorm of a build, maybe that be a tad bit too…Cheesy?

The tide is in. Aqueous transmission complete.

 

 

 

Tidal did make some waves : Here’s what the people of the media had to say:

Tidal was made in 2017 @THE Workshop in collaboration with Shilo Shiv Suleman.

 

 

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Woodworking starts with THE Plank

How many things can one plank of wood be?

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Sometime late 2016, we ran one of our first woodworking workshops with Bram.  A year on in he’s back from France, and set up Bram Woodcrafting Studio in Mysore. Happy to say we’ve collaboratively run some of our most awesome hands-on woodworking workshops with his team.

Two questions to get started: What’s a plank got to do with this?

And…How does one make a plank, THE Plank?

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Space-saving, flat, minimalistic even, it’s one of the more functional woodworking projects to begin with ––  the design we made is a simple adaptation of the original. The original is a mystery. Known by many other names including the Viking Chair, African chair, One-Board chair, The Plank Chair, and popularly dubbed the world oldest and simplest chair design. Stuff that DIYers cut their teeth on. Literally. Magic with a saw.

And while Norway and Africa both don’t care who made the chair first, Bram and THE crew everyone had themselves a fun time.

Here’s what mentors and participants had to say:

We’re super happy to see people making and doing.  People come back for seconds, and, we’ve even had participants who have flown in from across the world. True story. Drop by THE Workshop and we’ll continue the conversation.

Interested to make and do stuff?

https://twitter.com/THEWorkshop_Blr

https://www.facebook.com/THEworkshop.blr/

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http://www.the-workshop.in

 

 

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THE Urban Bi-spectacle: a data-driven interactive installation

We ended 2016 with a research-driven interactive installation at our very first Biennale. Pi’s, emotional maps of the city, original emotion based frequency sounds, and first person POV’s of four peculiar characters of the city.

That’s loads of data, research and creation all crunched into a month of making. In the meanwhile, we also helped set up URBAN CITYLAB, Bangalore. Fun December 🙂

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Initiated by Ar. Sandhya Rao and Ar. Anabelle Viegas, URBAN CITYLAB is a research collective of Urban Designers, planners, architects, sociologist’s and academicians based out of Bangalore. The research collective focuses on innovative urban proposals that will transform the way we live; concepts of hybrid urbanism that offer a juxtaposition of programs to live, work, and play for a hyper-mobile, hyper-connected population.

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The installation: The Urban Bi-spectacle is an on-going research project on the sensory experience of Bengaluru’s multi-layered, hyper-connected reality.  It uncovers layers of interaction, experience and emotion while revealing the characters, characteristics and peculiarities of the urban.

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Tracing the activities of various urban actors, we examine the multiplicity of the Bangalore urban to generate discourses on alternative methods of city design, and relook at ways to analyse and interpret real-time data.

Conceptualised, and built by Urban Citylab, this study provides insights into the nature of the city we know, sense and recognise, while focusing on the spatial, sensorial and emotional nuances defining it.

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Put simply, the city is calling for help, and we dial in an emotion. A precursor to the digitally lead lives of people in the world’s most dynamic city. Thanks Gopi, Arnab, Arthur, Chetan, Faseeh, Manoj, all volunteers, and THE Workshop for making this.

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Photo by: FAS Films

You can visit THE Urban Bi-spectacle at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016. Stop by Yousuf Art Gallery, Opposite international tourist police museum, Jew town road, Mattancherry, Kochi. The installation will run all though Feb, until 29th March 17.

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THE grass is greener on World Environment Day

2 Locations. 5 Mentors. 1 Day. All things green. 40 cardboard boxes were packed, stamped and ready to be reimagined. This June 6, World Environment Day, THE Workshop conceptualised a hands-on experience for two of Embassy group’s tech parks in the Bangalore in association with The Fuller Life. Big ups to them.

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Manyata Embassy Business park, Nagavara and Embassy Tech Village, Devarabisanahalli. Nice to know that the people there were celebrating a day of environmental awareness, and making. 

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Each box has in it some old newspapers, a couple of plastic bottles, plastic bags and old electrical wire.

The challenge: No glue, no stapler. 20 minutes to ideate and build a sustainable product or concept design representative of the day’s theme. using all the items in the kit, including the box itself. All this with just a pair of scissors, a paper cutter and their imagination.

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Groups of 3 and 4 got together to get making. While some teams were swift to build out their ideas, others took things a level up, attempting more challenging builds making as many products as possible.IMG_20160603_133923.jpg

 What they made? Plant holders, stationery holders, a couple of funky wearable concepts, mobile cases, bookshelves, windmill, and  a compost kit.  Happy to see what some productive thinking under trees could conjure.

Guess we need a lot more of them apple trees. 

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Perspective is a powerful thing

Big, small, little, large, too young, too old, dark, fair, brown, black, loud, soft, smart, stupid, from here, from there, worships this, believes that, nobody, somebody, everybody. Think Happy Everyday.

(This was the copy that didn’t make it on the final installation)

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Sometime last year we were invited to partner with the Under25 Summit to be held early January this year. Founders Shreyans and Anto were open to ideas for an installation that echoed their ideology. Woopiee! Good time for us to work with a super-motivated and socially-active audience.

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While  mining for  ideas, we realised that perspective was what one of the core takeaways from this summit.

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We jogged through some surreal illusions before deciding on The Ames room: a perspective based optical illusion room, constructed with the walls, floor and roof at various acute angles. The sum effect creating an illusion where one person standing at one corner of the room seemed like a giant towering over another person standing at the opposite corner.

So DSC_0494we got our Hobbit boots on and summoned the white wizard. The build was simple enough, a week of cutting up plywood, metal sections and the painting repetitive patterns. Sometime around the end of our build we found out our venue was on the 7th Floor terrace of the World Trade Centre. Schematics shuffled, welds broken and we had a modular design in a couple of hours.

Friends and fairy folk stopped by around midnight to help us finish up. Post sunrise, we struggled for three hours to get a little perspective up to the 7th floor. Service elevator worries, a serpentine corridor to navigate that made the task Sisyphean. 10 am, the sun blazing on the northern terrace, our semi-fatigued motley crew all paint, grease conjured up the 12 x 8  illusion in wood, metal and rexine.

 

People were curious. How did it work? What was inside ? Was there a show? Was there a message? A surprise? Selfies, videos, like like like, happy times. End of story…We were delighted that one message resonated with everyone there. Perspective, is indeed a powerful thing. DSC_0548

Video coming soon 🙂

 

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How a cardboard chair travelled from Spain to Nagapattinam Tamil Nadu.

It all started with a innovatively designed chair. Not your regular plastic, factory made portable. This one could be folded up, picked up and carried anywhere. And it was made of a material we usually packed stuff in: cardboard.

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The folks from Multihabitar, Spain left us with this gem of knowledge when they visited India in February 2014. It seemed a shame to let this useful repurposing of material concept go to waste. Jose Milara saying, “architecture and design should evolve to be more social and closer to people” made absolute sense as Multihabitar  graciously agreed to shared the design and the data. Open source, that’s the future. 

Here’s where it begins: a design thinking and cardboard furniture at PRIME College of Architecture & Planning, Nagapattinam, TN. This would be the cardboard sofa’s first journey since it reached India.

We got cracking. Hired a car and hit the Tamil Nadu tarmac,DSC_0238smooth running all the 506 km we covered.   Far from the bustle of Bangalore, our destination was on the scenic but yet to develop eastern coast of India. Day 1 was a talk and introductions so we could hit the ground running on day two.

Our workshop was structured to be completely hands-on where the learning module based on engagement, experience and experimentation –– we started  with 30 students demonstrating how waste cardboard boxes don’t have to be disposed but instead can serve as useful material to create an array of items and furniture.

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The enthusiasm was infectious right from the start. Students wasted no time in procuring the exact dimensions of cardboard needed. In a matter of a few hours the students, working in groups managed to prepare the pieces that would come together to form the sofa.

It was nearing college closing time but the students determined to finish the sofa, refused to leave. We began assembling the sofa around sunset.

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With a  lot of hands and a few people yelling  ‘no that’s not how you do it!”,  we had finally assembled the sofa in two hours flat.

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The cardboard sofa could be extended upto 2.6 M when fully stretched.

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The students were overjoyed: a bout of selfies followed by the students stretching out on the sofa, slightly apprehensive of it giving way under their weight. As predicted the cardboard stood true to its structural strength when combined.

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In the meanwhile, the creative thinking workshops had students debating ideas, questioning smart cities, converging on idea, diverging on perspectives. Good stuff.

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The next day students returned with a renewed sense of eagerness, ready to build their very own sofa or cupboard or shelf. They applied the methodology from the sofa to create their own design and then build it.  A few hours of brainstorming, cutting and we had a single chair, a scaled down shelf, a stationery holder, an abstract garden seater and a ‘couple’ chair.

Their input to design and grasp of new ideas was impressive. In a matter of a few hours they were able to apply their learning to create innovative and new items using cardboard. And that’s what defines design, the localised context of a globally evolving movement. 

A big Thank You to all the faculty and students from Prime and all the wonderful architects from Multihabitar. Happy times.

Text by Reuben Jacob, Bangalore 2015.

THE Workshop: Anabelle Viegas, Craig D’mello, Reuben Jacob.

Design Collaborators: Multihaitar, Spain

Videos will be up soon 🙂

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Synesthesia lights up Mini Maker Faire Bangalore

A thousand two hundred meters of tubing, sixty kilos of steel, six hundred LEDs, five ultrasonic sensors, 2 coats of paint, one coat of primer, over a 100 nuts and bolts, and this was just the installation. Plus fifty-four square meters of black rexine to enclose this little light monster.

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The build was crazy. 7 days. Help arrived magically. Almost sequenced. Thanks Gopi, Arnab, Chetan (for the perfect soundscape), Manoj, Kavita, Vijay, Sneha, Caco, Abhi and all of you who helped snip, string or wire stuff.

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We loved the response at the Faire. People were like “this is straight outta Avatar”. Awesomeness.

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Conceptualised and designed by THE Workshop boss Anabelle Viegas, Synesthesia is an interactive and iterative structure computationally generated with acting forces as the design constraint. The installation tests rigid materiality transforming it engaging the user with a soft, malleable fluid dynamism.

The light patterns iterate as the user engages with the installation. This time around we could only engage two senses. The next iteration will be more divergent, delightful and responsive.

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Super happy we made this happen.

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a month in the making…

THE Workshop has been up and running for over a month. We’ve hosted a few workshops. Met some excellent people. Fun times.

We tinkered with electronics. We made music with tools. Literally.

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We had an Open Day. Met some interesting artists. We made some keychain mementos.

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We asked people for their interpretations of a box…They were really out of the box.

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Now we’re trying to have conversations with furniture. Woo Hoo.

FURNITURE HACK event

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A fundamental step: Getting back to THE basics

Our new series at THE Workshop. Fundamentally fun stuff.

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