Gorgeous Floating Thing
Gorgeous Floating Thing (GFT) is a helium-filled installation that was exhibited at the Toronto Reference Library as part of Maker Festival in 2017.
Myself and a team of 3 technologists began with a budget of $500, an enormous 6 storey atrium to fill, a timeline of one month, and our only viable anchor point located on the ground floor.
Role: Project Manager, Maker
Team: Udit Vira, Christopher Lewis, Andreas W. + ideation support from Tiffany Pang
A three hour ideation session and some rough weight-to-lift calculations led us to the concept of a giant jellyfish blimp with mechanically pulsating tentacles.
After exploring ready-made blimps purchased online, we realised that they are incredibly hard to control and decided that a tethered structure would still be a satisfying outcome considering the timeline.
From there, we successfully tested techniques for sealing mylar to make a durable custom balloon, stress-tested it, and built a wooden jig to manufacture tentacles quickly and consistently.
In parallel, we white boarded alternative ideas for mechanisms to produce the pulsating effect, and decided on a design built around a pre-existing umbrella skeleton for ease and speed. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to complete the mechanism – the end result being an enormous static silvery jellyfish balloon.
Despite having to downscale the scope of the project on such a short timeline, the installation was a crowd favourite winning Best in Show.