Orchestrating the depth of light (short: Orchestra) is an installation that integrates state-of-the art LED-technology, novel interaction techniques and computational design to create an engaging and interactive experience in the city. The installation was created for the Luminale in 2014, a festival of lights that takes part every two years in Frankfurt (Germany). The project was set out as a collaboration between architects, computer scientists, media façade designers and a LED manufacturer.

Interaction Design

For the interaction concept we envisioned a mechanism that would not require signage or instructions on what to do, we rather selected a method that would allow the visitors to discover interactivity by themselves: At the venue where the installation was exhibited, the Roßmarkt in the city center of Frankfurt, we envisioned that many passerby would take photos of the exhibited sculptures. We therefore created an interaction mechanism that would detect photo flashes and react to that: once a photo of the installation was taken it reacted with a dynamic animation where „color/light tubes“ were flowing over the sculpture. The utilized hardware for this part consisted of a MacMini, an Arduino Uno and six dismantled Nintendo Wii-RemoteIR-Sensors.


As the design of the LED mapping and the content of the embedded LEDs of this installation was challenging (i.e. which pixel does what and where) we have implemented a purpose build application which can assist architects with no coding experiences to develop their own content by themselves. The application was implemented in Java – for development we have utilised the Eclipse IDE where we embedded Processing’s core library. The lighting animations were implemented with Processing. The application is operated via a custom made graphical user interface (GUI) which has the ability to generate a live preview of the animations.

Project Team
Interaction Design & Software: Marius Hoggenmüller, Alexander Wiethoff
Architectural Design: Städelschule Architecture Class
External Partners


Key Publications
Alexander Wiethoff, Marius Hoggenmueller and Eva Hornecker. Orkhestra: on the design of interactive media architecture for public environments. In Proc. of the 8th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI’14)