The Halo Group


September 5, 2015

Creative Design – The Sentiment Cocoon

This week we are privileged to feature an awe-inspiring creative design installation in our blog entitled “The Sentiment Cocoon”. The following words come direct from the creators of the project namely architect Moritz Behrens & lighting designer Konstantinos Mavromichalis and are accompanied by some incredible images and video. Enjoy! 

Credits: Press Release courtesy of Moritz Behrens Konstantinos Mavromichalis


The Sentiment Cocoon is a site-specific 20m tall interactive installation designed by architect Moritz Behrens & lighting designer Konstantinos Mavromichalis, which collects and visualises the emotions of the building’s occupants.The No.8@arup Installation is now in its third year and forms part of an annual competition, which shines the spotlight on talented designers and emerging architectural practices. Responding to the theme “Designing for People”, entrants were invited to consider how the No.8@arup Installation should reflect the need for occupants to be placed at the heart of a design brief, creating efficient and comfortable environments whereby people are not only productive but are also inspired, motivated, healthy and happy.


The Sentiment Cocoon represents a collective visualisation of how everyone is feeling in the Arup headquarters in London on any given day. To visualise this immediate interaction in real time through the medium of light and to represent the collective sentiment of people working in No.8 was indeed ambitious, as this installation had to be constructed in nine days in a fully functioning office. Check out the video of the instal here:

The installation features LEDs set out in four continuous lines totaling 4800 pixels that generate complex patterns and gradients of colour. Running the entire height of the Sentiment Cocoon, circa 20 metres, the LEDs create an enigmatic display. Natural daylight, pooling into the atrium from the skylights above blend with the light emitted from the LEDs. This allows for a rich interaction of varying forms of light, which are diffused through the skin of the cocoon. The translucency of the material creates an effect whereby the suspended Sentiment Cocoon generates a striking visual display of light.


The installation is informed by the feelings of people working at Arup. Colour gradients & the velocity of the colour and movement go on to represent this communal mood through the patterns it generates. Over time the patterns become recognizable and therefore people working in No.8 experience the overriding sentiment of the day within the office.


An interactive dashboard was designed, with knobs, dials and buttons. Each day, Arup people were encouraged to share their sentiments via one of the dashboards that are installed on each of the six office floors. As people approached the dashboard they were invited to choose which mood they were in. People were then able to operate the dial to identify their sentiment, happy, sad or indifferent. Using a London Oyster card and an RFID reader the installation was able to register separate individuals’ inputs albeit anonymously. A sophisticated algorithm then fed this information through the dashboard before digitally projecting into the light field along the spine of the cocoon.


The Sentiment Cocoon is yet another example of the increasing proliferation of media architectural interfaces mediating human behavour with architecture. Arup is committed to design and finding ways to stimulate innovation and creativity through playful experimentation. No.8@arup seeks to illustrate how collaboration amongst designers, across all sectors and disciplines can lead to an exploration of new technologies and techniques, which influence how we design buildings. These social applications will ultimately lead to responsive, adaptable and clever buildings that serve human wellbeing.

Moritz Behrens said that the Sentiment Cocoon “is exploring the boundaries in architecture on many levels and addresses: lightweight structure, interactive lighting, HCI (human computer interaction), and robotics in building and fabrication. The collaboration between a small creative practice and large resourceful and knowledgeable corporate global company is of mutual benefit towards prototyping our future city.”

Moritz’s partner in the project, Konstantinos Mavromichalis, described the basis for the design: “What is interesting to me about an atrium is that it is a sensory space that joins together all the spaces adjacent to it, we hear ambient sounds, and we catch glimpses and echoes of conversations. This is the perfect context for the Sentiment Cocoon, whose function will be to visualise how the occupants are feeling at any given time of day by the recording of ‘sentiments’ via physical interfaces situated in and around the atrium.”

See more of Moritz’s and Konstantinos’s incredible work here:

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