3D light walk installation immerses visitors in jena, germany
3D light walk installation immerses visitors in jena, germany 3D light walk installation immerses visitors in jena, germany
oct 01, 2016

3D light walk installation immerses visitors in jena, germany

heaton huezo light walk installation overview



light walk is an interactive lighting installation designed by david heaton and sandra linton huezo for the UNESCO 2015 international year of light festival. the project is located in the german town of jena and more precisely, in the main entrance tunnel of the sonnenhof plaza- a mixed use courtyard belonging to a landmark development. also known as ‘the city of light’, jena is home to major research institutes and companies specialized in the field of optics. as a result, the town has developed remarkable expertise in lighting technologies- and the installation reflects that local capacity.

heaton huezo 3d light walk installation designboom
the installation explores the relationship between light and matter



in the project, david heaton and sandra linton huezo want to challenge the typical notions of physical space by exploring the relationship between light and matter – in different dimensions. indeed, light walk explores the two conditions of “presence” in today’s mediated world: virtual (present in a digital realm) and translocal (different locations expressed into one space). 


through the materialization of an ephemeral space of light, the installation engages the key concepts of translocality and augmented reality – creating an overlapping physical and digital sense of place within the square’ heaton states.





the artists translated their idea into a 3D lighting matrix that passes through three different tunnels (one main, two sideways). sensors are placed in each space to collect data from passersby’s movement once they enter. indeed, the presence of people is essential to creating the visual experience. once visitors enter a walkway, sensors detect the physical presence and translate it into a ‘data ghost’ -which appears in the form of light coming from the light walk installation.


the light tunnels are controlled by a master PC and five ‘slave’ PCs. these computers receive signals from kinetic devices in the tunnels. the position of a person in any of the walkways is relayed to the main PC, where all signals are compiled and translated into a “living drawing“ on the screen. each person is represented as a two-dimensional “blob”; they are identified by a certain color and size- based on the height of the individual. this information is then fed to a lighting program called madrix, and sent to the main controller. thus, the light walk installation introduces two different interactive dimensions. digitally, it allows the 3D light walk to respond to people’s movements. physically, it provides an intriguing social space for local and foreign visitors.


‘audiences of all ages explore various ways to interact with the installation: walking inside it, playing with it, taking selfies…these behaviors demonstrate how citizens embraced this new presence in their city center, a catalyst to support conviviality and sense of placeexplains heaton.

heaton huezo light walk installation designboom
collective immersive experience of the 3D light matrix

heaton huezo 3d light walk installation designboom
the ‘data ghost’ of a person transformed into light

heaton huezo 3d light walk installation designboom
clop up on the 3D matrix of light bulbs

heaton huezo light walk installation designboom
when someone walks through the tunnel, their presence is indicated by a change of color

heaton huezo light walk installation designboom
perspective view of the ‘light tunnel’

heaton huezo 3d light walk installation designboom
when not activated, the matrix cycles through different colors; here it is in blue mode

heaton huezo light walk installation designboom
…then transitions to a purple color

heaton huezo light walk installation designboom
visitors gathering outside of the tunnel, and within



project info:


installation size: 2.5m x 2.5m x 9m

material: timber frame (40mm x 200mm) and plywood

lighting: 1920 RGB lights



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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