LightHive (subtitled “luminous architectural surveillance”) was an interactive installation at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, installed May – June 2007 – and later recreated at its generous main sponsor’s headquarters – Zumtobel, Dornbirn, Switzerland.
The installation created a spatial 3d-cctv chandelier; a constellation of 1,024 suspended LEDs, arranged to recreate the position of every light source in the AA building, and powered by occupancy. The lights were suspended on translucent power/data cables from a panelled mirror (its doors concealing the equipment) with a laser-cut plan of the school, illustrating their relative position. They illuminated as soon as the space they mapped was occupied. Each LED shape, digitally cut from a design resulting from an intricate set of mapping scripts, replicated the intensity, colour and direction of the real light sources, combining to form a 1:6 model of the way light plays through the building.
The LEDs were controlled by a vast network of sensors – Passive InfraRed detectors, infra-red cameras, and wireless door and seat sensors – all switching on and off and changing in intensity in response to changes in light use throughout the building. A processor recorded the information and, like a clock, played back a time-lapse archive of the exhibition (and the school’s life) as hourly intervals – information which was mirrored on a website, where the visitor could navigate virtual time-slices of the building’s historical occupancy.



Atmos project webpage:      


Project Team

Design:  atmos (Alex Haw, director & creator)

Diffuser scripting: Marc Fornes

Supported by: Architectural Association



Project Type


London, United Kingdom (GB)

Related links


  • Atmos Studio