Campfire is both a beacon and a place of gathering, fostering community, educational discourse, and social bonding between students, faculty, and staff.
Rethinking The Future Awards 2023
First Award | Interior Design Elements (Built)
Project Name: Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College
Category: Interior Design Elements (Built)
Studio Name: Studio Joseph
Design Team: Wendy Evans Joseph, Jose Luis Vidalon, Shuo Yang
Location: Carleton College – Northfield, Minnesota
Consultants: Matthew Schreiber – Artist Consultant; Studio 100 – Lighting Consultant
Photography Credits: Corey Gaffer
Structural Engineer: Flos Lighting, Fabrication
A new interior atrium between two science buildings provides a multi-level connection between classrooms, offices, and social spaces. As this major hub of activity overlooks the central green, the Dean wanted to create a light installation that would become a beacon from inside and out, bringing forward ideas about art and science. Her goal was to have a dynamic light installation with an eye toward active engagement.
Campfire is our name for this light as It brings people together around its glow. It is the hearth and soul of the building, operating effectively for ground-level interactions and views from the 2nd and 3rd floors, from near and far.
The sculptural form consists of almost 80 acrylic tubes, 4″ diameter and 6 feet long, hung in two overlapping tiers. The random array forms an 8-foot square in plan and is 10’-6″ high, hanging by power cables from the ceiling.
Each cylinder cap has a LED ring that sends light through the transparent areas, creating a colored glow only at the translucent bands and the bottom rings. The random patterns of bands create a ‘flicker” effect. The bespoke programming holds six different “scenes” that are either stagnant or changing (a 10-minute loop); however, the program can change quickly and easily. The scenes range from groupings of different tones of white lights (warm, cool) to a collage of numerous variations of color to a single color.
Campfire’s playfulness engages students in the scientific process of light and creates a place to exchange ideas or simply enjoy its visual warmth.