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
Location: Northfield, Minnesota
Consultants: Matthew Schreiber – Artist Consultant; Studio 100 – Lighting Consultant
Photography Credits: Corey Gaffer
Other Credits: 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 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 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.
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.
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!