Campfire is both a beacon and a place of gathering, fostering community, educational discourse, and social bonding between students, faculty, and staff.
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Campfire Light Installation, Carleton College
Lighting Design Built
Wendy E Joseph
Studio Joseph Lighting Consultant: Studio 1000 Artist Consultant: Matthew Schreiber
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 toward active engagement.
Campfire is a metaphor for a place of 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 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!