Bringing Concepts to Life: The Technical Elements of Wish Happiness
”Wish Happiness’’ is a large-scale interactive art installation designed by artist Kristina Mah for the 2018 Vivid Sydney festival. It is inspired by the traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice of spinning prayer wheels, inviting visitors with colour and light to turn the base.
Artist Kristina Mah was referred to the TILT team by Partridge Engineers and all of the team – TILT, Partridge, Kristina and her projection team collaborated to work within a relatively short lead time of 6 to 8 weeks to design, build and install the artwork in time for Sydney’s 2018 VIVID festival.
The installation is a Bali hut – a timber structure with rotating carousel featuring three projectors in the roof and an animation of mandala. As the carousel is turned, the imagery evolves with each rotation of the turning wheel and a mechanical bell rings appealing to a multi-sensory experience for the visitor.
Sensors capture the speed of rotation of the base as it is being turned by visitors and this is mapped to the responsive, animated projection-mapped image. Every rotation of the carousel had to ring the bell at the top and the carousel needed to be able to turn both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
The geometry had to be precisely calculated so the bell would peal well on each rotation, regardless of which way the carousel was turned. This seemingly simple concept took plenty of trial and error to get the measurements accurate to ensure a solid ringing of the bell!
The three projectors in the roof overlap the animation – essentially each projector covers a little over a third of the circle – and the structure needed to be stable enough to its hold position despite public interaction to ensure the projected imagery mapped well across all three sources. To do this, the TILT team agreed on the specifications with the projection team and then ensured the dimension, stability and rigidity of the structure.
There was a challenge in making the installation robust enough to hold up to intense public interaction at VIVID Sydney, and this was accomplished by the use of industrial components. The Partridge structural engineering team were involved early on to provide expertise in ensuring the structure would be safe and certifiable for public liability cover and part of the knowledge they provided was in modelling how the crowd would be interacting with the piece and how the movement from the crowd would affect the structure.
As with much of the work TILT Industrial Design does – whether with artists, engineers or architects – the team were provided with a sketch of the concept and tasked with bringing it to life, using materials that would best reflect both the creator’s intent and budget. Managing the technical challenges to do this is one of the key strengths of the TILT industrial design team and we were delighted to collaborate on this project.