Los Angeles–based Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) recently completed work on a 1,100-square-foot sheath for the IBM Watson Experience Center immersion room in San Francisco. The interpretive wrapper—fabricated by Arktura in Los Angeles and executed in conjunction with an overall interior design by Gensler’s San Francisco office—is designed to express data visualizations generated by IBM Watson’s computing powers while also concealing the 350-square-foot sales space from view.

For the project, the design team interpreted and translated data maps depicting the volume of digital sales on mobile devices between 2013 and 2015 in order to derive an expressive moiré-patterned cocoon made out of dual-layered, curvilinear CNC-milled aluminum plates. The plates, backed by bright white lights, can be read by Watson Center docents in order to express a so-called “data narrative” in which Big Data—data sets so complex or vast that conventional data processing can’t process them—plays the titular role charting the growing influence of mobile-based sales.

Describing the project, Alvin Huang, principal at SDA, said, “The kinetic moiré effect that is produced as visitors move around the immersion room breathes some life into the static pattern, which speaks to the fact that data is live and constantly changing—even though the installation itself is static.”

IBM Watson Experience Center

505 Howard Street
San Francisco
Tel: (800) 426-4968
Architects: Synthesis Design + Architecture; Gensler

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