Monday, April 27, 2009

"Passage of Peace": Salon di Mobile Presents Design Concept for Spiritual Wellness

--art + architecture + design--

Every year, the center of the Design Universe converges in Milan during the month of April for Salone di Mobile (April 22-27). It is the place to see everything new in Design, and a place to showcase not only your best products but also a place to bring your most imaginative ideas. This year, Knoend ( an "ideas" company based out of San Francisco that touts design as a catalyst for change) presents a design concept for world peace developed with technology and "smart product" design partner Pocobor, also based in San Francisco.

Knoend is exhibiting in SaloneSatellite, a portion of the furniture fair dedicated solely to young designers under the age of 35. Instead of presenting a traditional piece of furniture such as a chair or table, Knoend decided to showcase a public art concept.

Utilizing gestural interconnectivity, Passage of Peace intends to bring people together in unity in hoping for peace. It will be a demonstration of belief that peace is obtainable by connecting people across the world with the same wish of peace on earth.

The project is a migratory installation that will be placed in prominent public plazas in major international cities of the world. Every year it will be placed in new cities to begin a dialogue among the cities towards peace. The first five cities in the inaugural year will be the capitols of the five permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council - Beijing, London, Paris, Moscow, and Washington DC. These five capitols will take the first steps in the passage for peace.

A set of columns alternating between metal and glass are installed in one city. The same configuration is set up in the 4 additional cities. When the metal columns are touched, the glass columns surrounding it will illuminate, and a sound will play.

Any illumination seen and sound heard in one city will be reflected in the other cities enabling people across the world to connect to each other. When people in different cities touch the same metal column, the intensity on the surrounding light columns will increase. When the connection is maintained and a wish is made together, the light will then pulse and fade to signify a release of peaceful intention. Furthermore, when a chord is played, signifying harmony, the light will travel across the entire installation. There are 12 metal columns to represent each month of the calendar year and each note on a musical octave. The Passage for Peace allows people to reflect on those lost to war, but also provides a medium to imagine a world without conflicts.

Knoend partnered with Pocobor to create a functional scale model of the concept. Pocobor utilizes embedded controllers, cutting edge touch-sensory technology and low-power wireless connectivity to create the interactive audiovisual effects necessary for this project.

This ground-breaking project not only pushes the boundaries of the definition of 'furniture' but also extends the socioeco definitions of sustainability to include the spiritual wellness of the world. Furthermore, it utilizes wireless technology to connect people in a physical way rather than virtually, and thus provides a new medium for personal interconnectivity.

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