Hewlett Packard have long shown a commitment to supporting young designers, and this year has been the third year they have been involved in Urbis Designday with their Future Designers programme. The major difference this year was that the designers – all architecture students and graduates from Unitec – worked together to create one project rather than individual works. This was an exciting change as it meant that the small team was able to create a dramatic large-scale installation. And create something impressive they did.
Coming up the stairs to the mezzanine of the Cloud, you were greeted with a sea of coloured boxes resting atop of thin steel plinths. the students explain the project: “The experience of data storage with a cloud computing experience becomes literal as site information is translated through a binary coding system into a spatial expression constructed from recycled and sustainable materials.” What this means is that they mapped a wide range of information about their waterfront site over a period of three months from the tides tot he movement of the moon, to ferries and cruise ships coming and going. Each of these elements became a unit of information which was expressed in the huge grid of information that ran in days in one direction, and time in the other direction. White coloured the moon, blue the tides, red the cruise ships, and on and on. What it meant was that once you understood the coding, you could ‘read’ the site. You could see arcing patterns of the moon and the tides mimicking each other, you could wander through and find the exact ferry you took that day you visited Rangitoto.
This was a beautiful and very clever response to the site. What made the final project even more amazing were the big HP screens that played a time-lapse of the students setting up the installation. A couple of crazy days (and nights) are seen in this mad film which is almost hypnotic as you watch how it was all put together. It was a great connection of technology and craft, analogue and digital. The physical installation and the digital background of how it developed.