EXOtique is a backlit ceiling installation that was created at the foyer entrance of a university building. The patterning is based on light distribution throughout the piece, while the form redefines the space. The translucent material transforms from a crisp white surface to an ethereal glowing canopy in the evening.


Completed: 2011
Medium: High Impact Polystyrene, Acrylic
Location: Muncie, IN
Client: Ball State University
Size: 14’ x 8’ x 4’

This project was commissioned by Ball State’s College of Architecture, with an invitation from the Institute for Digital Fabrication to lead a student workshop. The goal was to gain an understanding of how materials react, and intelligently embed that into the design and fabrication processes.

The result is a hexagonally based, component system that acts as a lit ceiling for the space. The surface was triangulated and associated into hexagonal groups. This was done with an understanding that bending could achieve non-planer geometry through the correct choice of material. The groups were unrolled and all other details created. This includes joinery, labeling, patterning for distributed lighting, tolerance adjustments and other fabrication techniques. Tabs on the styrene lock into the solid acrylic connectors as rigid sidewalls, causing the material to bend within the component as opposed to its edges. This allowed the components meet and create a rigid shell. The lit hexagonal panels act as the hanger connection point for the piece, and a custom acrylic tabs were created to hold the socket cable after being thread through the components. The project was extremely time intensive, but effective in demonstrating how choice of material and fabrication techniques can influence design.