Video by Laura Brehaut: https://www.instagram.com/laurabrehaut/

Gorgeous Floating Thing

Installation

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

 

Ideation

 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. 

 

Exploration

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. 

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Prototyping

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.

Animation produced by Christopher Lewis
 

Production

 

Umbrella Mechanism

 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.

 
 
 

Installation

Despite having to downscale the scope of the project on such a short timeline, the installation was a crowd favourite winning Best in Show.