An incandescent light feast for the eyes, courtesy of the Microsoft Research Design Expo

Sean Cameron


Being as Microsoft is rather a large firm, its fingers rest in a great many pies. This manifests itself in a number of ways, from a multinational and varied workforce, to a diverse business portfolio and a successful history of sponsorship.

This sponsorship is perhaps how the business manages most successfully to give back to the communities in which it operates; in particular however, it is students who receive a generous allowance. Microsoft has a storied history in providing excellent deals and offerings for those in education; not only in STEM subjects, but in the arts as well.

LA Philharmonic

Design students from around the globe flock to the annual Microsoft Research Design Expo, held in LA, sent by universities to present projects with real-world impact. The event proves not only to be a showcase for new ideas, but a forum for conversation on the topic, as is perhaps inevitable when hundreds of like-minded individuals meet socially.

One of these students however, Refik Anadol, had a particularly intriguing proposition. To transform the notion of art, he proposed using light in the same way as paint, a new material with which to create and produce works of great inspiration. His work, first shown at the 2013 Design Expo, used human movement to control the flow of light, his idea focused around the use of a Kinect sensor and a camera to achieve this end.

Visions of America: Amériques / LA Phil / Video Artist Cut from Refik Anadol on Vimeo.

It was to spectacular effect that he recently did so, at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, presented by Esa-Pekka Salonen’s movements and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Amériques by Edgard Varèse. Featuring soaring lights that shift and morph into ethereal shapes and structures, the installation uses the unique architecture of the venue to cast shadows and manipulate form and reality, allowing for something of a transcendent experience, one that is most certainly worth a watch.

Did you enjoy the installation? Let us know in the comments below.