Wednesday 22 Jun 2011


Urban Prairie is an intuitive and interactive motion recognitive installation conceived and designed collaboratively by London architecture firm In Square Lab, post production and visual effects specialist MPC Digital and software developer Existential.

Inspired by the rapid reduction of green spaces due to urbanisation of cities, Urban Prairie seeks to recreate a 1000sqm sea of prairie from a 5m wide shop window.

In this project, the main challenge for the team was to create a system that allows for maintaining or even extending the notion of green spaces through intelligent use of design and technology via 4th dimension (time + space) design. Further to that, it is also hope that Urban Prairie can serve as a catalyst to inspire and provoke discussions and speculations about the concept of inside vs outside, here vs there and virtual vs realism.

Using an array of optical sensors and arduino boards, urban prairie captures and comprehends the movements of passersby in front of the installation. This digital data is then translated into kinetic responses via a series of servos; creating the phenomenon of a sea of grass swaying in the breeze. The motion of the 'real' grass is in turn measured by the specially designed software and translated to a field of virtual prairie on screens behind the 'real' grass.

The combined result is an 'Urban Prairie' which passersby can engage and interact with through their movements in space. By varying their speed and location in front of the windows, passersby can generate wind disturbance that travels from the 'real' grass to the virtual prairie seamlessly and eventually fading off into the horizon.

in square lab Ltd


more projects by this designer