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 2022
Second Award | Interior Design Elements (Built)

Project Name: Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College
Studio Name: Studio Joseph
Design Team: Wendy Evans Joseph, Jose Luis Vidalon, Shuo Yang
Area: 64SF
Year: 2021
Location: Northfield, Minnesota
Consultants: Matthew Schreiber – Artist Consultant; Studio 100 – Lighting Consultant
Photography Credits: Corey Gaffer
Other Credits: Flos Lighting, Fabrication

Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College | Studio Joseph- Sheet1
©Corey Gaffer

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 college wanted a light installation that would be a focal point from both inside and out, bringing forward art and science with an eye towards active engagement.

Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College | Studio Joseph- Sheet2
©Corey Gaffer

Campfire is a metaphor for the wonderful traditional gathering that brings people together around its glow. It is both the hearth and soul of the building, appearing very differently from ground-level, 2nd, or 3rd floor views. Depending on the furnishings below (which change depending on use), it can define a place for academic meetings, friends to gather, or just a quiet place to read under its glow.

Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College | Studio Joseph- Sheet5
©Corey Gaffer

The sculptural form consists of almost 80 acrylic tubes, four inches in diameter and six feet long, hung in two overlapping tiers. The random array forms an eight-foot square in plan and is about 11 feet in height, hanging from the sloping ceiling by power cables. Each cylinder cap holds a LED ring that sends light through the transparent areas, creating a colored glow only at the translucent bands and the bottom surface of the tubes.

Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College | Studio Joseph- Sheet6
©Corey Gaffer

The random patterns of bands create a ‘flicker” effect that changes as you walk by. The bespoke programming holds six different “scenes” that are either stagnant or changing (a 10-minute loop). The scenes range from a grouping of different white lights (warm, cool) to confetti of numerous tones to an infinite variety of single colors. Carleton’s students/faculty can create new, unique programs over time. They are enjoying changing the look of Campfire for specific events or just for fun!