renders01The project is inspired by the interaction between people. It celebrates the female and male union and brings together people that already know each other or are completely strangers. Its interactive, it challenges its visitors, its playful.

It invites people to take part and be interactive with each other. It is called like that as it challenges people to reach the final gate and come together. It acts indeed like a mistletoe. Mysterious and magical. The moment you stand beneath the final gate you stand where all the magic happens. You feel the power and need to kiss the other person. Its design celebrates this union and offers a magical mutation.

It offers a labyrinth of complex, intriguing that seek to nourish individual experiences.

Black rock city seems to be the promised land, the promise of freedom, of self-expression, of immediacy and creativity and community. In a community like Burning Man you can assume the right to approach any random person and have an interesting interaction. You can overly express interest and curiosity. The Desert Mistletoe aims to give people a chance to be more expressed, more playful. Its for those people who want deeper connections, more meaningful interactions, less seriousness and more play.

Hugs and affection are a particularly significant aspect in which to expect more from strangers. We all need love, hugs and kisses are one of the best ways to deliver it. Take the risk to go in for a kiss. Of course some people will be hesitant. The project challenges people to express affection and admiration and relax. Hugs and kisses bring us together. At Burning Man, the endless parade of people flaunting their unusualness brings joy and excitement.

The unusual is both delightful and challenging. People love the unusual, the extraordinary and anything out of our everyday lives and routines. At Burning Man you do not need to sacrifice your wonderful weirdness. On the contrary you are challenged to explore your playful impulses and discover or express your freaky freedom.

The project is inspired specifically by the people of Burning Man.

‘Burners respect the gift of being touched’


Inspiration – The Symbol of Sri Yantra

axonometric explanationSymbolism

The Sri Yantra is conceived as a place of spiritual pilgrimage. It is a representation of the cosmos at the macrocosmic level and of the human body at the microcosmic level. It is a Journey. A spiritual journey from the stage of material existence to the union of the individual soul with the divine. The spiritual journey is taken as a pilgrimage in which every step is an ascent to the center. It represents a movement beyond one’s limited existence and every level is nearer to the goal. All the stages are within a gated frame, which is called the ‘earth citadel’ and forms an enclosed space.

The geometry

The symbol consists of nine interlocking triangles, centered around a bindu ( the central point). The five downward pointing triangles represent Shakti; the female principle. The four upright triangles represent Shiva; the male principle. The nine interlocking triangles form 43 small triangles each representing a particular aspect of existence.


The Concept – Fractals & Koch Snowflake

The proposed project is inspired by the concept of fractals – a never ending pattern, applied to a specific geometry. They are infinitely complex patterns created by repeating a simple process over and over, creating patterns that are self-similar across different scales. Fractals are images of dynamic systems that are driven by recursion.

The idea is based on the Koch Snowflake, a mathematical curve which has a finite area bounded by an infinitely long line.

For the project a script was created in Grasshopper and different patterns were created based on the triangles extracted from the Sri Yantra symbol.

fractals-experimentsBelow: Acrylic model based on the fractal pattern that was created above

fractals-experiments-model-01The model below is based on the fractal pattern created by

  1. the triangles representing the Female principle
  2. the triangles representing the Male principle

Together they represent, like the Sri Yantra symbol, the union of female and male. A celebration of our Creation.


Developing the design and the creation of a journey through a structure

The initial idea was to extract some patterns and create something that will look like gates. Gates that could provide a journey to their visitors.

first-attemptFurther development of the gates was undertaken. The final concept consists of 4 gates which intersect with each other in order to provide a journey. There are 4 different designs for each gate. Each gate has a dense pattern in order to create something elegant and ornamental. The pattern is based on the Koch snowflake concept and has been applied to multiple directions. The gates have different heights and dimensions with the last one reaching up to 10m height. This was designed in such a way to provide a climax of the visitor journey at the final gate/stage.

final-gatesThe design is all about a journey. A personal journey with different experiences. A welcoming structure, inviting the visitors to interact with each other. It says a story, it represents a story and it invites you to create one.



Experiment model in order to understand at what points the gates could intersect. At this point, the gates are connecting only on the top.

This has as a result to have an ’empty’ structure on the sides.

initial-ideasFinal Design Concept


All the gates are connected with each other not only at the top but also on the sides. To achieve best results and better connections, the 3 gates are duplicated and connected with each other. The second gate will be connected with the third one only at the bottom. The 4rth gate has three sides creating a triangular central space. The gates have been rotated along the 2 other sides allowing for its visitors to enter from different directions. This also creates an enclosed space, like the Sri Yantra symbol.

The proposed installation aims to be part of this beautiful journey of self-discovery. It takes part of expecting more from strangers, while noticing the weirdness of others and encourages everybody to express themselves. With expecting more of strangers it increases the likelihood that the people you meet will become a part of that sometimes elusive network of connections we call community.






The Symbol

The Mandala – Sacred Geometry in Buddhist Art

“We can also discuss the mandala in terms of the soul. The soul is the totality of the mandala. Essence arises in the soul, but for a long time… the soul is not completely essentialized; only part of it is. The rest of the field of the mandala – the rest of the consciousness of the soul – is composed of all your mental, emotional and physical experiences. The thread is defined by the center of the soul, and we can know that center most specifically and in a delineated way by recognizing the essential presence and what quality is manifesting.”   – A.H.Almaas                                                                                                                                 


The word Mandala derives from:

manda =essence, la =container

Thus, the word Mandala translates as “the container of the essence”

However, as an image the mandala is a symbol representing both the mind and the body of the Buddha.

In esoteric Buddhism, the Mandala’s main principle is the presence of the Buddha in it. This can be represented either as a tree, a wheel or as a jewel, or in other symbolic manifestations.


The Centre

The Mandala is consecrated to a deity. In its creation, a line materializes out of the dot, while other lines are drawn up to the point where they intersect, creating in that way triangular geometrical patterns. The central area of the Mandala is the residence of the deity. Each Mandala has its own resident deity, with whom the mandala is identified. The circle drawn around the deity’s residence stands for the dynamic consciousness of the initiated. It is the gathering point, in which all the outside forces are drawn.

The centre is visualised as the essence and the circumference as grasping.

In its complete form Mandala means:

Grasping the essence.

The residence of the deity is located in the square structure concentrically within the surrounding circles. The outlying square symbolizes the physical world bound in four directions, which are represented by the four gates, which in turn symbolize the bringing together of the four boundless thoughts.

Loving Kindness





The Square

The square structure is divided into four isosceles triangles by lines that run from the center of the Mandala to the four corners. Each detail in all four quadrants or triangles faces the center, where the deity of the mandala resides. The square form defines the architecture of the Mandala described as a four-sided palace or temple.

Palace – Residence of the presiding deity

Temple – Contains the essence of the Buddha


The Colours

The four quadrants of the Palace or Temple are divided into isosceles triangles of colour.

white, yellow, red, green, dark blue

 Each of the aforementioned colors is associated with one of the five transcendental Buddhas, further associated with the five delusions of human nature. These delusions obscure our true nature, however spiritual practice can transform them into the wisdom of these five respective Buddhas.


The Concentric Circles

The series of concentric circles surrounding the central palace or temple follow an intense symbolic structure.

Ring of Fire

Ring of Thunderbolt or Diamond Scepters (Vajra)

Eight Cremation Grounds or Graveyards

Ring of Lotus Leaves


The Complete Mandala

A person meditating on a mandala visualizes himself going into the mandala and making his way through the levels of images until he arrives at the center. Buddhists believe that the Mandala meditation helps concentrate spiritual power and bring freedom from suffering.


Drawing the Mandala


Component Diagram

After thorough research on the Indian Mandala, I started designing mine taking into consideration the various symbolizations and components that constitute the traditional Mandala.


Mandala Layers


Model Concept


Three Dimensional Mandala

The Final Proposal – The Cubic Mandala



Day Render

According to Buddhist religion, the mandala appears as a series of concentric circles that are a representation of the process of transformation that human beings are asked to undergo before entering the sacred area, located at the centre of the mandala. In other words, when meditating in front of a mandala, human beings move through the different layers, liberating themselves from the delusions that obscure our true nature, and consequently reach the centre of the mandala and attain enlightenment.

Based on that theory, the Cubic Mandala is a three dimensional, cubic representation of the traditional Indian Mandala and is designed in a way so that all the fundamental elements of the traditional mandala are being incorporated into the design. For instance, the central area, the palace or temple, the four quadrants along with the four gates, the ring of fire, the lotus and diamond ring, as well as the eight graveyards. The aforementioned are of great significance and vital to the process of transformation and the attainment of enlightenment and spiritualism.

This process is further emphasized by the introduction of 4 layers that form each side of the cubic mandala and represent the different stages that human beings have to overcome in order to reach the centre of the mandala. The cubic mandala is an actual representation of the difficulties one is asked to overcome in order to put an end to human suffering and acts as a means to discover divinity by the realization that it resides within one’s one self.


Night Render

The Cubic Mandala is a 4,5 m high timber and acrylic construction consisting of layers that form four concentric cubes, creating a journey to the centre of the mandala. The twenty layers that form the four concentric cubes are made out of timber. However, a 10mm acrylic sheet is attached to the five layers that form the first cube as well as the third concentric cube. LED strips will be attached at the edges of the acrylic sheets, lighting up the whole structure during night-time.


Exploded Axonometric Diagram


Exploded Diagram – Front View

Each cube consists of five sides, instead of six, as the bottom side has been removed and replaced by a base that holds the whole structure. The sixteen vertical layers of the structure are being inserted to the pockets that have been created at the base of the structure. The remaining four horizontal layers are attached to the horizontal elements.


The Base

The Experience

While observing a mandala, a kind of spiritual essence surrounds the one observing it, which as a result allows him a higher level of awareness and consciousness. Consequently, the creative mind of the individual is allowed to escape reality and run free. The mission of the “Cubic Mandala” is to encourage people to focus on it, absorb the beautiful designs and allow their minds to wander. People are tempted to let the “Cubic Mandala” absorb all their attention, by moving into the mandala and gazing into its patterns.



A feeling of lightness is what people are going to experience, while falling into the mandala. Intuitive thoughts might arise. People are encouraged to relax, embrace one another and let the feelings come to them. According to the tradition, the making process of the mandalas involved four monks – one at each quadrant – working simultaneously until the mandala was complete. Having said that, the original process of making highly encouraged interactivity. Therefore, the purpose of the “Cubic Mandala” is to bring people together and, through the ritual of mandala meditation, to raise their spiritualism, to promote self-expression and finally, to liberate them from the everyday life.


Interior View


Interior View

Harmonesthesia’s form embodies the serendipity of chancing upon a beautifully spiraled shell in the sand and realising that when placed next to the ear, that momentary experience can be conjured up in an instant, through the soft sound of waves, hundreds of miles away from its conception.

Harmonesthesia is a play on synesthesia, a crossing of the senses, that interchanges both visual and aural harmonies. The ritual production of art and music is defined by juxtaposition and harmony; Harmonesthesia will turn light into sound and sound into light.

161129 - Shell 3.3dm

A 5m shell will project from the ground with a low opening at its base, inviting participants to climb up into its interior. The internal structure will consist of tensioned plywood ribs that will also provide safe steps to climb up to the pinnacle, where interactions will be intimate. The exterior will be wrapped in 9mm plywood strips, curved around and nailed to the ribs. Their organic curvature will juxtapose the angular appearance of the ribs and steps partially concealed beneath. Wrapped between each strip of plywood will be LED strips. The interactive animation of these LEDs, along with loudspeakers placed inside the spine of the structure, will be controlled by a polar array of light sensors and microphones around the shell.

The spiral is a phenomena that occurs in much of the natural world from galaxy arms to snails, even the cochlea (from the Greek word for snail) or inner ear. It is a spiral-shaped cavity, in humans making 2.5 turns around its axis. Sound vibrations are converted into the sound we interpret by thousands of hairs within the cochlea; the spiral cavity allows each of these hairs to pick up slightly different frequencies which collectively can be interpreted as sound. Harmonesthesia’s form is inspired by this spiral, whose shape allows the conversion of sound into electrical impulse.



Once thought to be extremely rare, synaesthesia is now believed to affect between 1 and 4% of the population. The Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman reported seeing equations in colour. The artist Wassily Kandinsky tried to recreate the visual equivalent of a symphony in each of his paintings. And Vladimir Nabokov wrote;

“One hears a sound but recollects a hue, invisible the hands that touch your heartstrings.  / Not music the reverberations within; they are of light. / Sounds that are coloured, and enigmatic sonnet addressed to you.”

Human cultures around the world have all to some extent cultivated their own sense of music; processional movement and dance are closely associated with these musical vernaculars, their combination a sort of synesthesia whereby one evokes the other by association. In this way Harmonesthesia will become the focus of a ritual procession and generator of harmonious music.

Night View 1.jpg

Please participate by downloading and exploring Harmonesthesia in digital form via this link. Unzip the folder and open the file and you will be able to control an avatar in the virtual playa; ‘WASD’ keys to move; ‘C’ to crouch; ‘M’ to hear the music; and ‘L’ to turn on lights. Enjoy!

A2-wide angle perspective.jpgJohann Wolfgang von Goethe says Architecture is frozen music. Albert Einstein believes the key to unlocking the universe is through the hidden geometry and mathematics.  This design seeks to unlock the geometry of Sound making sound visible through 3-dimensional volume and lights.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says Architecture is frozen music. Albert Einstein believes the key to unlocking the universe is through the hidden geometry and mathematics.

Sound is a hidden code when it unlocks allows us to perceive it as a set of geometrical patterns. The mechanic of sound is translated visually through frequency and amplitude represents itself with beautiful geometries as code from the universe. My design recreates Sound’s geometries into a physical symbolic Sanctuary for users to retreat their senses in the desert,to unravel meaning behind the symbol of Sound by deconstructing it and re-dressing it with physical form, making Sound visible.

 This design seeks to unlock the geometry of Sound making sound visible through 3-dimensional volume and lights.


The structure measures 13.77 feet in length &12.8 feet in height. The material for the structure would be paneled by birch plywood(4ft. x 2ft. panel).2-D dimensional geometry is translated into 3-Dimensional form by folding and joining edges.The sanctuary is made up of three mirroring layers, stacking vertically. The construction of the structure is to explore double curvature design with single curvature paneling and assembly. The ground storey encourages private space for reflection; individual sitting and resting area are carved inwards towards the air-well  ,in contrast, the upper storey is the communal area within the enclosure where users can access from a ladder. Pocket of windows are generated by the stacking and mirroring of sound vibration patterns.  Users enters into the enclosure and view the desert from within.

Resonance cryptograph-night.jpg

Live feeding of Sound and the changing LED lights


In the night, live feeding of sound is captured when in contact with the surfaces of the sanctuary. With a contact microphone attaches onto the surface, it captures the sound amplitude when a user touches or tap as sound travels through the surface as a medium. The device(computer coding with Arduino) then translates the amplitude variation (loudness) into changing colours of LED lights. The lights are attached on the rim of the panels.



Studies of Sound patterns through water




Eigen vector


Elysian {DNA}

Elysian – [ Beautiful,  Creative; Divinely inspired; Peaceful and Perfect ]

My installation entitled, ‘Elysian’ is based on scientific principles of dna, wave forms, kinetic energy and how we perceive through our senses. Elysian invites people to visualise the form of dna in an infinite space as a fractal kinetic system. Its encourages a new relationship to experience between art and observer.

I believe dna to be much more than simply a chemical structure with coding instructions, and that the visual and physical depiction of the familiar double helix is only one aspect of a multi dimensional reality. I prefer to imagine dna as a pathway of energy and information connecting all levels of manifest reality, and that this unique pathway and the flowing currents of our souls along it are opitimised by love.


Elysian aims to capture the essence of ‘The Sacred’, providing a unique opportunity for people to connect directly and consciously with their dna, by experiencing mindful movement through the actual shape of dna as a fractal kinetic system. The infinite space of immateriality enable access to a world and dimension more profound
than our own. An escapism. A space in which emotions wander freely without constraint: Love, joy, wonder, dread, awe. Elysian ultimately intends to evoke ritual exploration. 

Outside Perspective lighter again.jpg

Elysian is not designed for rational thinking but rather for exploration and playful surrender. The spinning kinetics flashing lights and noise, coupled with the infinite void and physical pulling of rope, are all elements to induce honest and playful engagement and to banish all notion of reasoned and literal thought. Elysian seeks to capture the emotion of the festival and ultimately become a means of catharsis for the people of the Black Rock City. 

Proposal Elemental Analysis: 


Elysian: Parallel Space

Elysian amplifies our perceptions to play with our senses. Its design reacts to movement of people inside coupled with the physical interaction of people outside. It behaves differently depending on the time of day. In sunlight the walls reflect the festivals landscape, concealing itself in the desert, creating a period of discovery. At night the walls transform producing a beautiful interplay between inside and out. Standing inside the pavilion you cannot see out and so you are lost in an infinite space of mesmerizing kinetic wave forms. Participants adjusting the levers outside can see inside and begin altering the waveforms. These waves step from moments of harmony to deformed chaos. The role of the individual inside is to control the light. The more they move, the more the light changes. You interact with Elysium through your senses. The mirrors produce a stunning depth of field illusion, the lights flash at a rate faster than your eyes can see, called chromastrobic light and the rope rapidly spins to cause a whistling noise that together break the rules in your mind and induce the playful side as you work out the space around you that doesn’t exist in the physical world. I wanted Elysian to be a collaboration where people of the festival manipulate the effects to freely create there own sculptural dna forms.

extra one.jpg

Inside are four spinning motors have rope attached which extends to the ceiling. At the base of each motor are four electronically controlled dmx led lights. As the motors spin, the rope transforms into a visual waveform. Small micro controllers pick up movement inside through small infrared sensors and vary the lighting output.

Close Up Detail.png

Earlier Concept System:

An earlier concept for the system enabled the viewer to pull the rope in order to disrupt the wave at the same time as viewing the outcome. This idea was later redesigned to enable a collaborative response in which one person alters the rope whilst another views the outcome in a different location.ier

[01]    DNA – Concept and Origin

Everyday I wear a gold necklace that has engraved upon it two serpent
s intertwined ol.jpgaround a staff. It forms the symbol  commonly used for identifying an individual with medical conditions. I wear it for this reason, but in reality it has a far deeper meaning. I have always viewed the serpents as a symbol of dna and therefore a symbol of me as an individual. All living organisms acquire their uniqueness by there carefully defined strands of dna and yet by the very nature that we all possess dna we are in fact one and the same. Through this careful balance derives my intensive interest into the matter of dna and how we might perceive it in the real world.


‘There are as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the galaxy, We are, each of us, a little universe’ 

DNA stands are the genetic code that determines all the unique characteristics of every living thing.  Simply put your DNA is what makes you, you! You inherited your DNA from your parents, known as ‘hereditary material’ (information that is passed on to the next generation). Nobody else in the world will have DNA the same as you, unless you have an identical twin. Deoxyribonucleic acid is the large molecule shaped like a double helix and a ladder that’s been twisted many times.


 In the early 1950’s two scientists, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, carried out intensive studies into DNA using x-rays. Franklin produced an x-ray photograph that enabled two other researchers, James Watson and Francis Crick to determine the 3D structure of DNA. The structure was found to be a double helix. In 1962 Crick and Watson, along with Wilkins all received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery. Rosalind Franklin had died four years earlier and her pivotal contribution was not fully acknowledged until much later.

[02]    Parametric Understanding and Symbol Manipulation

Understanding the Basics:

In mathematics there is only one polygonal formation that would create a double helix. Ten regular pentagons orientated around a decagon.

Form Finding more 02.jpg

Shape Deconstruction:

Starting with the end state of a number of packed circles I drew a polygon around them. I then trying to work backwards to find out how, given the polygon, I could have drawn the circles. By constructing a square one circle-radius in width on several of the key points it generated a larger pentagon. I had a pentagon packed with circles, so I could work backwards and attempt to find a construction which would give me the centres of the circles. Since a square helped me last time, I decided to go for the most obvious square (actually rectangle) – the one built on the pentagon’s baseline – and voila: A circle the width of one of the pentagon’s sides, centred on the pentagon’s centre, gives the centres of the circles which pack that pentagon. This is a general solution that seems to only work for pentagons.

Adopting Knowledge to Science:

The diameter of the helix (HD) and the height of the helix extension (HE) have a direct and constant proportional ratio to the pentagon length (PL) and pentagon diameter (PD). In order to establish the precise nature of this ratio we must devise some trigonometrical equations. The pairing of purines and pyrimidines in the Crick and Watson proposal locates the molecular pentagons that make up a part of the purines on the outside of the paired bases. However, it has been demonstrated that a more fluent and natural geometry would require adjacent pentagons at the heart of the base pairing. 


Adopting Knowledge to Science:

Below represents the development of the pattern. It was a case of understanding what could be found from my previous understanding. Constructed parametrically, it shows step by step the methodology behind the system. The final proposal form was a simplified expression. 

Form Finding 02.jpg

 *As I developed this pattern the American election had taken place. The pattern I had generated contained 50 stars,  the same number that are present on the US flag. I felt this highly significant and relevant to the projects location in  Nevada, USA. My symbol of DNA characterises each individual human but also represent a bond and connection  between all living this. A sense of unity and connection which defines Burning Man.

*It was this point that the ‘stars’ significance became more profound…


[03]    Wave and Light Analysis – Physical Experimentation

Chromastrobic Light and Waves:     [Artist Collaboration]

In order to fully understand the science and artistic quality of my project I met the discoverer of the phenomena ‘Cromastrobic Light’, Paul Friedlander. If we look at visual effects, we have to understand the limitations of our eyes. In much the same way that images which flash at rates higher than ten times per second will be perceived as a continuous sequence (like in a movie theater), if we surpass the total number of images per second that the eye can see, they will be seen as a continuous path.  It is this scientific understanding for the reason why we see a three dimensional form and not a rotating rope. The effect of Chromastrobic light adds another dimension that allows the eyes to perceive the rope as almost completely still for a millisecond before it changes. Chromastrobic light is only perceived when the lights flash at rate faster than our eyes can see. The video below represents this beautiful phenomena.

It was my intention to understand wave properties through a physical exploration. Below represents the standing wave experiment in which a spinning motor is fixed on one side with string attached. The opposite side is fixed. The experiment involved adjusting the tension of the string, the linear distance and the motor rpm.  With a greater understanding of wave simulation I began investigating their effects with LED DMX lights


[04]    A space of Immateriality

cool image.jpg
Infinity: Space of Immateriality

The most challenging aspect of the design to understand, though, is the optical Illusion. Optical Illusions are like candy for the mind. Like quenching the minds sweet tooth is the infinity mirror. The mirrors inside Elysian produce a stunning depth of field illusion that causes you to lose a sense of reality and appreciate what you are looking at more intensively. Viewing the spinning dna forms in this manor will break the rules in your mind and induce the creative playful side as you begin to work out the space around you that doesn’t exist in the physical world.


Infinity: Space of Immateriality

The infinity mirror effect is produced whenever there are two parallel reflective surfaces which can bounce a beam of light back and forth an indefinite (theoretically infinite) number of times. The reflections appear to recede into the distance because the light actually is traversing the distance it appears to be traveling.

Form Finding more 05.jpg

Two-way Mirrors: Infinity with a twist

Using a one-way mirror allows light to pass through on one side but reflect the light backwards on the reverse side. Two-way mirrors allow some light to pass through and also reflect the light like a mirror on the same side. Rather than using glass, however, I will use one-way acrylic. The special property of the acrylic is it allows a small amount of additional light to pass through. A cheaper more accessible alternative. Placing two of these opposite to each other creates an infinite mirror system whilst being able to see it face on.


Two-way Mirrors: Architectural Device

I wanted to retain the effect of having lots of these spinning devices but without physically building them. Therefore, I am creating an infinite mirror effect to allude the viewer into a false sense of perception. The space will seem to be full entirely of spinning kinetic art forms when in fact there will actually only be four. By mirroring the floor and ceiling as well  they will spin in all directions. The star form of my pavilion should create a unique infinite mirror experience. Focused around the points of the star, the reflection should develop in a polar array. The kinetic forms will in principle reflect in a circle array around the end points of the star. The space will develop into an infinite array of DNA patterns and stars, coupled with the spinning string, lights and the individual viewers. Ultimately this produces a very close depiction of my earlier scheme with the benefit of being cheaper. It also uses sophisticated architectural devices to represent the same outcomes.

Form Finding more 06.jpg

[03]    Scientific Investigations – Technical Project Understanding

Wave Analysis: Processing

I am currently developing the code and design to be used as an application on both android and apple devices. The application encourages the understanding of sin and cosine waves and how they respond to changing certain parameters. By using processing and open source material I have been able to start constructing an accurate wave understanding.


I also intend to be able to develop the code further to consolidate the link between the waves and dna, which is the essence of my Burning Man project.There could even be the possibility of using this at the burning man festival itself as a way in which people control parameters of the waves or lights via an interactive screen. The video below is a demonstration of the code working.

Wave analysis 2 looks at investigating different types of waves, adjusting sin and cosine functions in processing.
Wave Analysis 3 – Parametric Investigation [Grasshopper; Kangaroo]

I developed a computational parametric script using grasshopper and the Kangaroo component inside to produce waves. Kangaroos properties mean that I can alter parameters like tension to give more accurate results. The waves run of an initial rpm and distance. 

little, gh.jpg

gh developed.jpg

Elysian – Burning Man 2017

By Matthew Chamberlain,

Master of Architecture ( University of Westminster)

Thank you!

Ca’sah Nanah da gai [Feathers of Initiation]

The installation centers around the natural forms of feathers and pine cones, both being significant symbols in Native American culture, specifically relating to the Agai-Dicutta Numu.  Feathers were often used as an expression of a certain virtue or to reflect a certain individual or significant event. As such feathers were viewed in a similar manner to a gift from a high official, representing a link between the individual and divinity.



The sculpture starts in the form of a feather to reflect on the link between man and divine. The bright colours painted across the platforms represent those painted across the barbs of the modern feathers used in Native American ceremonial dress and ornamentation.


As burners ascend they will make their way up the vane of a feather they will complete their own initiation, drawing similarity between the great events that feathers were rewarded for in the past. As the platforms open they will begin to transform in shape to bear visual resemblance to pine cones.

The pine nuts are important in particular for the Northern Paiutes to survive the winter; and have their own festival in the third week of September. The change in form will reflect the process of change from receiving a symbol from the divine, to receiving bountiful harvest and personal fulfillment. The lighting will help to accentuate the fluctuations in shape throughout the day and night, representing the omnipresent divinity and how it can be seen in many different forms of nature.

  Form finding and colour explorationfether options3Interactivity

The piece will be both physically and visually interactive, with a changing form that will alter over the course of the festival. Burners can twist the colorful platforms around their central core allowing them to climb to the higher levels. As they do so they will be able to read messages of wisdom from other burners and leave their own along the way. The bridging links are fixed and thus can be used by the burners to sit and relax, observing the surrounding playa. The structure can also be used as a shelter, by rotating the platforms to create shade from the sun’s direct heat as well as forming a barrier from wind.

Special holes carved through some of the platforms will facilitate themselves as climbing holds to aid burners on their ascent. The bridging links are fixed and thus can be used by the burners to sit and relax, observing the surrounding playa. As the platforms are rotated, light will interact with the sculpture in different manners, pouring through the holes and creating intricate shadows. At night, the project will illuminate and create a light show, which will make the climbing possible even during night time.                         feather-elevation

fether options3Model – scale 1:1


Model- scale 1:50

Materials and components

The varying thickness platforms will be comprised of 12 and 25 mm layers of plywood, depending on it’s span and form. In each platform will be a ring of 10 mm acrylic between the top layers allows for LEDs to cast out a unique visual form at night. Metal ball bearings will separate each platform facilitating the change of form as it is used by burners.

All this will be held up by steel tubes measuring between 5 and 6 meters in height with a diameter of 160mm. The steel tubes will be welded to a metal plate buried in the sand and secured with ground anchors. The feathers are also structurally supporting each other, through the 4 bridge link, made from the same plywood.

axocomponents-finalComponents- plywood parts

topviewfinalPlan view

elevationnightNight time view

Whatever has a Beginning has an End.

Inspired by a continuous fractal curve, Snakes and ‘Ladders’ takes its form from the space filling Hilbert curve; an image that grows exponentially while at the same time being bound by a square with a finite area. The curve continues to grow until all that can be seen by the eye is a solid cube. From afar, the proposal will sit on the playa as a cube made up of horizontal and vertical wooden studs fixed together. As the burner approaches the structure, it can be seen that the internal space can be explored and allows the user to interact throughout the climbable structure as they make their way to the central and upper levels. As the person makes their way inside, each layer consists of a reinforced fractal curve that can be used as a ladder progress. When the sun sets, LEDS built into the wooden studs light up the various iterations of the Hilbert Curve giving off a colourful effect to each layer inside the structure. Each layer will be programmed to allow a brighter light sequence to follow the curves creating snake-like lights that envelop the laddered structure.



Symbols to Systems

“Then it seemed like falling into a labyrinth: we thought we were at the finish, but our way bent round and we found ourselves as it were back at the beginning, and just as far from that which we were seeking at first.”   Euthydemus, Plato.

My starting point began with the famous symbol from greek mythology, the labyrinth; an endlessly running meander. a structure designed and built by Daedalus for King Minos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur. It was said that Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it. However, despite this, a labyrinth will always consist of a start and an end point. The goal? Reach the centre.



Many labyrinths today are based on symmetrical patterns,  first seen from the Roman Labyrinth. These represent the first real attempts to create different forms of the genre.CT10_modernlabyrinth.png

The term labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze. However maze refers to a complex branching of multicursal puzzle choices in path and direction,  the original goal is not lost but rather relocated for creating games to challenge the user.


Looking at the work of M.C Escher I started looking at forms that could be intertwining together. As the number of staircases increase, the denser the stair maze becomes. However from this, each stair leads endlessly and no goal created.


Fractal Curve Analysis

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Looking more into the Hilbert and  Moore Fractal Curves, I constructed both out of match sticks to look at how the pathing route for each curve differed. It was noticed that the Hilbert Curve looked to be more stable when finished as it’s upper level were more supported.

Structural Testing

As a fractal curve will always be developed from start to end using one line, additional support will be needed.Using Karamba, I was able to generate a script that will allow me to test the strength of both fractal curves until it fails. As the structure collapses I will be able to point out the weakest areas and provide additional support to prevent the proposal from failing.



Initial Proposals & Development.

Attempting to combine the stairs with the reinforced Hilbert Curve created some uninteresting results as an initial Proposal, from this point, it was decided that to create a more complex maze would be to increase the amount of iterations and strip out the staircases.

By removing the staircase, I instead increased the size of the structure to allow additional interations to be nested externally and internally. From this a 5m x 5m Cube was to be proposed, constructed entirely out of 2in. x 4in Dried Whitewood studs. This allowed the proposal to be built cheaply and quickly using Karamba to identify weak points in the structure and reinforce them.

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Proposal: Snakes & Ladders.


Snakes and Ladders originated in Ancient India, popular by the name Moksha Patam; associated with Hindu Philosophy contrasting Karma and Kama.The game has also been interpreted and used as a tool for teaching the effects of good deeds versus bad.  The squares of Fulfillment, Grace and Success were accessible by the ladders, which represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, and theft. The morality lesson of the game was that a person can attain salvation ‘Moksha’ through doing good and reaching the last square was attainment.

The number of ladders was less than the number of snakes as a reminder that a path of good is much more difficult to tread than a path of sins.

With Radical Ritualism being the Theme for Burning Man 2017, I believe my Proposal can itself be a cube of Fulfillment, allowing people to play the game of snakes and ladders to forget about their sins as they try to achieve ‘attainment’ by reaching the top.

The Snake.



Like the classical mobile game ‘Snake’ the lighting aims to wrap around the cube, illuminating the ‘N’ Iterations of the Hilbert Curve using LED Lighting.



The Ladder.

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The structure is made up out of 2in. x 4in Dried Whitewood studs and reinforced to allow people to climb all the way to the top allowing either the external or the internal framework to be used as a ladder system to move throughout the proposal. Each iteration has start and end point which is travelled upon during the night which is reinforced by additional studs to allow no failure.



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By Christopher Thornton