Forms in Context: Hybrid Exhibit Environments

Today was our first day of the Environments Mini! I started off by developing a plan/schedule for the rest of the semester, looking at due dates, work sessions, and how those things fit into my existing schedule.

Screen captures from my google calendar

I also went to visit the Miller ICU to take a look at the space I would be designing eventually. Here are some photos I took!

Images of the Miller ICU

I went and took photos to really get to understand the scale of the environment I was going to build. I took a look at how it would feel like walking into the space, the distance I would be from the walls to view pieces, the overall feeling of the space given the very spacious ceilings, where I would potentially place walls, the accessibility of the gallery, and the potential lighting I could implement.


Today I was able to go to the CMOA to take a look at some artists I potentially want to create an exhibit for. Right now, I’m looking particularly at Jiro Yoshihara and Alberto Giacometti.

Alberto Giacometti Sculptures
Jiro Yoshihara Paintings

I’m still waiting on Jill to get back to me with my email because the topic I want to do the most is Asian American representation in media. Jill will be getting back to me on the 21st to give me a list of resources about Asian American art and artists and Asian American social activism as well.


Jill was able to provide me with a list of artists and resources, and I decided to go with Byron Kim as my artist for this project. I wanted to focus specifically on his pieces Mud Root Ochre Leaf Star and Synecdoche and how these pieces relate to Asian American representation in media in a broader context.


For this week’s deliverables, we were asked to finish a storyboard for our interactive exhibit as well as a mood board and rationale for it. Additionally, we were asked to finish the ICU floor plan we started in lab on Thursday.

I was kind of confused on what specifically was being asked for with the storyboard, but I figured that it would be to create a general storyline or to visualize how someone would go through the exhibit. I’m still working on the specifics of my interactions.

Still working out some of the minor details: I have some small descriptions of what I would like the space to do, and I have questions on what I could potentially do or change.

This is my mood board below:

This is my rationale:

For this exhibit, I wanted to establish an environment that would highlight Byron Kim’s work while also creating an interactive learning experience speaking on the representation of Asian Americans in media. I wanted to create a dimly lit environment with spot lighting that would highlight Byron Kim’s 2 pieces on display while having other screens around the room use projectors to showcase Asian American history and activism within the United States. I would use smooth walls with a smooth dark grey floor. As for my color palette, I wanted to use softer earth tone colors to create a comfortable environment while also being consistent with the artist’s work on display. I also wanted to use red for spot color to highlight important information. Red is a lucky color in Asian culture while also having very different connotations in western culture; I figured it would be an appropriate color to showcase the duality of Asian American identity. As for typography, I chose to use repetitive bold typefaces as statement pieces to draw people’s attention towards key information. The bold typefaces would also show up better on the floor of the exhibit, where I plan on creating an interaction involving pressure sensors. I also wanted to keep with the consistent theme of repetition in Byron’s work.

This is my finished outline of the space’s floor plan:


Hybrid Spaces Reflection:

The hybrid space that immediately comes to mind is TeamLab’s Continuity exhibit that I went to this summer at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The exhibit displays a variety of different projections on blank walls in a dark room. There are a collection of mirrors, lights, and screens that create an incredibly immersive environment.

Here is a link to their work:

Experiencing their work in person felt surreal and prompted me to think about how other spaces were hybridizing. For example, many food chains— particularly fast food—around the US are integrating digital environments into their existing infrastructure. I remember going to a Shake Shack over summer break, and there were kiosks and other touchscreen devices that you would use to order your meal. They had a system where the kiosk would assign you a buzzer that would go off when your food was ready. The entire experience was streamlined and efficient; there wasn’t a long line where you had to wait to order. The flow of traffic in the store was kept at a minimum because people would find their seating indoors or outdoors and come only to grab their food. I think it definitely helped improve the fast-food experience simply by making it faster.

IoT and New Tech:

Pressure sensors used to play sound/project something on the wall when it senses that someone is standing in the designated area. I would use multiple sensors that would trigger different sounds/projections.

Motion sensors used to sense gestures as inputs that produce specific interactions like swiping or revealing more information about the exhibit. I wonder how I can make the gestures more intuitive so that people know what to do when they see this interaction.

1 more interaction:

Physical Prototype and Elevations:

Elevations with some designs and people for scale
Parti diagram

Above are some elevations with my initial design ideas on it as well as my part diagram mapping out the path a visitor would take going through my exhibit. I’m conflicted at the moment because I want to keep the space open, but I also want to have the people move throughout the space in a more intuitive path. I think I might add a wall behind the typography interaction to have a place to project the images from the interaction while also creating a more intuitive path for people to follow.

Images of the physical prototype

I’m still undecided about the flooring. I don’t know if I should go darker or not.


This past weekend I’ve been working on developing some of my interactions as well as reworking some of the details from last class after the group critique.

The first thing that I did was develop the typography interaction at the entrance of the exhibit. I wanted to use proximity sensors for this interaction, and so as part of the assignment for Lab, I used TinkerCAD to create a proximity sensor with an already created template. I copied the template and adjusted some of the wiring and code to better suit what I wanted for the exhibit. But basically how it works is that when an object gets within a certain distance of the sensor, the sensor goes off and triggers an LED to turn on. This LED is just a placeholder for a projector. If you move too close to the sensor it turns off the LED and if you move too far it also turns off.

Here is a link to how it works: TinkerCAD Proximity Sensor.

Here is how I’m imagining how the interaction would play out:

I think that because I’m deciding to keep the exhibit open, I will be trying to use this interaction to lead people to different parts of the exhibit. As you can see, the red dots pop up along with the text “I am not a virus”. I will be placing proximity sensors in those areas where the red dots appear. This hopefully guides visitors to different places within the exhibit as they watch the text move on the ground. I was also thinking about what would happen if I also incorporated splotches of ink to signify calligraphy. I do think that it would be a cool effect, it would also just look a lot like blood.

Here are some photos of what the model looks like right now. I added curves into the walls as well.


Clearing Up the Narrative:

I talked with Peter today during our 5-minute desk critique, and we talked a lot about the overall narrative arc of the exhibit and what I wanted the visitor to experience walking into this space. He mentioned that I should either focus on the Asian American experience in the United States as a whole or the artist's work or maybe it was a combination of both; however, it should be distinct that the audience/visitor was moving through one space into another to experience the art and then have it unpacked for them. Moreover, if I was to do a combination of the two, there should be a distinct connection between the exhibit interactions and the artist.

At the moment, it didn’t seem to clear what the intent of the exhibit is. I know that I want to focus on the Asian American experience in the United States and creating an experience that people could learn from and empathize with, leaving the space feeling empowered and stronger as a community.

Narrative Layout:

Space 1 Current/Recent History:

  • Corona Virus and media coverage
  • Politicians blaming China for spreading the virus and causing the pandemic
  • “Experimental virus created in a lab in China”
  • Hate crimes across the US specifically targeting Asians
  • Asian American response and protest to lack of action from the government
  • Response and actions taken by the community to combat the spread of racism

Space 2 History of the Asian American Experience:

  • History of Asian American experience timeline
  • As you walk past the wall, images appear and stories are told.
  • Different paths you walk will talk about different stories projected on the walls of the exhibit
  • Events I want to cover:
  • The model minority concept. Be quiet don’t speak up
  • The early history of immigrants in the United States
  • Yellow Peril
  • Chinese Exclusion Act
  • Political images and propaganda against immigrants
  • Japanese Internment Camps WW2
  • American colonization of the Philippines. Justifying colonial rule based on “unclean and uncivilized bodies”
  • Vincent Chin Murder. June 19, 1982. Assailants fined $3000, no jail time, 3 years probation. A catalyst for Asian American civil rights engagement
  • How Asian American history is intertwined with the histories and experiences of other nationalities:

“Occidental College historian Jane Hong reveals how the United States government used Asian immigration inclusion against other minority groups at a time of social upheaval”

Space 3 How people have been responding to the issue

Interactive Experience Scanning Skin, stories, and Synecdoche:


  • Scanning Skin to create a community built Synecdoche Piece
  • People who scan their skin can choose to share a story about a time they had experienced racism
  • Displayed on the large wall
  • When you walk closer to the wall, a proximity sensor sets off a speaker close to that part of the wall and plays the story of their experience with racism
  • Different voices reading out each story?
  • People voice record their own stories?

Explanation of the art piece:

  • Over 400 panels of monochrome skin-toned canvases are displayed together on a wall.
  • Panels are organized by sitter’s surname

Title Synecdoche:

  • A part stands for a larger whole
  • Commentary on racial identity and cultural identity and minority status in the United States
  • Closer inspection of the art piece allows you to envision yourself within the piece. You also visualize a range of others within the piece:
  • My interactive experience could be to talk about the general Asian American experience in the United States, but also people who are not Asian American can relate and empathize just like how you visualize yourself within Synecdoche.
  • Exploring shared commonality within our difference
  • “Kim seeks to push past the attention given to his physical attributes, and suggests our shared commonality within difference.”
  • Byron Kim has sat down with both family, friends, and strangers to create this piece. It is both a very personal piece as much as it is universal.

Space 4 Call To Action:

  • Call to action:
  • You are not alone
  • We’re all in this together


Designer Role Reflection: How is the role of an architect and an environments designer different?

Architects build spaces that have different functions ranging from living quarters to social spaces while environments designers integrate space and digital to make hybrid experiences that allow people to interact with the space in a whole new way. For example, environments designers will integrate sensors and projectors, and other technologies to enhance how a person experiences a space. They use new ways to experience things like using movement or gestures to interact with large screens to create immersive, rich, and captivating spaces that pure geometrical structure cannot attain on its own. Architects are limited to the physical, while environments designers can use different tools at their display to enhance what is already there. For example, an architect can build a space like the exhibit for the TeamLab Continuity exhibit with the same materials, shapes, etc. But an environments designer integrates that space with touch sensors, projectors, speaker systems, and other technologies to create an experience that is 10 times more interesting and engaging.

Additionally, environments designers are working to understand how people think and act within space. They learn from the behaviors of how people interact with physical and digital objects and spaces to inform how they might design an experience.


Today, I spent time working on developing some more of my interactions as well as continuing to develop my narrative with all the progress I had made in the studio yesterday.

I worked with my SketchUp model and created some more physical changes to my model as well.

Here is the concept for my next interaction. This will be how I display Asian American history with a proximity sensor. When an individual walks past the screen, the projector projects news articles and information about the event/time period. As you move further away, more news pops up and the images that were previously shown disappear.

I’m currently still working on the composition of images that appear based on the path that you take walking through this first interaction. I also think that I should show different images based on different movement patterns people take walking through the space. I also want to incorporate gestures into the interaction so that when someone waves their hand it can reveal more information about a specific event that occurred.

To connect the different spaces together, I will be using typography on the ground. I want to use different quotes and sentences to help ease the transition from space to space. So for example, from the previous space to the space showing the artwork by Byron Kim, I will be using the phrase “exploring commonalities within our difference”. This will help the visitor re-orient themselves in the exhibit going from past/history to present/how people are responding to history.

SketchUp Model
Physical Model

I decided to reimagine the space by adding another wall to create a more intimate space. I wanted to create a separate space where people would view the artwork of Byron Kim, experience the final interaction, and walk out feeling more empowered than when they walked in.

The final interaction is an interaction where a person scans their skin to become a part of this larger projection, recreating/imitating Synecdoche by Byron Kim. A person will first scan their skin, which will then be uploaded to a cloud that will project everyone's skin on a “canvas”. I want people to feel like they are immersed in this interaction. When they get close to a specific panel, they can hear a story read out loud to them. I want people to feel empowered and “find shared commonality in their difference”.

The final wall I wanted to create is a call to action reminding the people that they aren’t alone and they have the power to make change.

Here are some more images of my SketchUp model:

I’m still working on developing my interactions and fixing the first typographical interaction at the beginning of the exhibit. I think that I still need to find a way to show the dim lighting within the physical and digital model of the space.


This past weekend I continued to develop my interactions and my model as a whole. I was also able to develop my visualizations of the space and introduce lighting using photoshop.

First, I finalized the typography proximity interaction at the beginning of the exhibit. I went through a couple of different iterations regarding what text would be displayed, how the text would be displayed, and where I would place the text.

I decided to go with the phrase, “a part stands for a larger whole”. This phrase is the definition of a synecdoche which also happens to be the piece by Byron Kim which I chose to be part of the exhibit. I think that it fits well considering that the exhibit will be talking about race and culture. Anyone can represent the people of the world in a sense.

Additionally, I printed out the smaller “exploring shared commonality within our differences” phrase as a transition from the history section to the artist section. It also works as a way to illustrate how people are reacting to the history before us.

I also printed out the artist statement and description of the piece and placed it next to the small collection of canvases showcasing Synecdoche by Byron Kim. I also added a call to action statement at the end of the exhibit.

As for the other 2 interactions, I installed the interactive timeline at the beginning of the exhibit. I didn’t place it in my SketchUp model because I couldn’t get the curves to work with the texture/image. However, I was able to place the image in photoshop in my visualizations.

I added a kiosk and the display for the 3rd skin scanning interaction. I created a timeline for all the major events that happened to Asian Americans in US history as well.

Here are some photos of my physical model.

For my next deliverables, I will be finishing up my storyboards for my interactions and working on the presentation for the exhibit/experience.


This weekend I spent time developing the rest of my visualizations as well as working on the presentation for tomorrow.

These are the final visualizations of my space. I wanted to specifically showcase the lighting, actual size of the interactions, and give the viewer a sense of scale within the space.

Entrance and Typographic Interaction Visualization
Timeline Interaction Visualization
Byron Kim — Synecdoche Artist Feature Visualization
Skin Scanning and Call to Action Visualization

These visualizations were also accompanied by the storyboards explaining how the different interactions within the exhibit functioned. They were simple drawings showcasing the different factors and elements involved with each interaction; I decided to use storyboards instead of visualizations because I felt that some of the interactions were too complicated to just be shown with a few images from the SketchUp model.

Typographic Interaction Storyboard
Timeline Interaction Storyboard
Skin Scan Interaction Storyboard

I also touched up my parti diagram to better reflect my new space. For my presentation, I had the different spaces highlighted one at a time to give my audience a way to orient themselves within the exhibit.

empty parti diagram
parti diagram complete


Post Presentation:

  1. Self-Reflection Meta-Cognitive Experience: What motivates you? What distracts you? What keeps you engaged?

What motivated me?

What motivates me is my drive to always want to do more than what I currently have. I feel like I always want to create more, and I feel like there is always more to be done. I really enjoy creating a concept and trying to bring it to life. When I envision a concept in my head, I’m really motivated to create that concept in a tangible form so that others can see what I’m thinking. However, sometimes I don’t necessarily create something exactly how I envisioned it in my head which makes me disappointed. I get frustrated when things don’t turn out exactly how I want them to, and it makes me want to try more ways and do more to achieve the exact picture in my head.

I’m also motivated by my classmates. Seeing other people do amazing things with their work inspires me to work harder and do more. I think that being able to see other people’s work and have other people explain what they’re thinking of gives me lots of insight as to how I can do my work.

What distracts you?

My phone distracts me. Other classwork and deadlines also distract me. I had to delete apps like Tik Tok to stay on task as I find myself too often taking “breaks” for way too long. In terms of deadlines, I have so many other things going on in my life; thus, I’m always thinking about what I need to get done today and what do I need to accomplish at the end of the week. This mindset helps me stay organized and on task, but it also makes me stressed about timing and deadlines. I think that I'm always thinking about the next thing to do rather than focusing on the present. Finally, I get hung up on very specific problems. Sometimes I will get stuck on a small thing that doesn’t have a very large effect on the overall project, but I feel the necessity to solve the problem here and now. If I don’t solve that issue, it continues to bug me and I keep trying to go back to that issue even though I know I should come back to it later when an actual solution comes to mind.

What keeps you engaged?

What keeps me engaged is when I have a solid picture of what I want to do and what I want to accomplish. When I have a clear goal in mind, I will do as much as I can possibly do in order to accomplish that goal or vision that I have. Once I have a clear picture of what I want to do, I will stay engaged with the project or work at hand. I think that it’s also really easy for me to stay engaged with a topic when I get into a groove or rhythm with my work. When I find the proper workflow, it's hard for me to get distracted. When I think that I’m close to a solution, I will stick to working till I find that solution. Having calming music or something in the background helps me stay focused.


This past weekend I took the time to finalize the details of my interactive exhibit. I took time to finish the deliverables for tonight as well as take some time to reflect on how the project went as a whole.

The first thing I did was to refine the physical model. There were a lot of things that I needed to update, including walls, elevations, adding doors, and refining the overall craftsmanship of the model.

Here are some photos of the physical model:

I added the main entrance to the exhibit, and I also added white printer paper to cover many of the walls that have blue and black dimension markings. The white paper on also helped cover the scotch tape used to hold the walls together. I added the red circles next to the interactive timeline interaction and removed the text on the ground in between the timeline interaction and the artist feature room. I felt that there wasn’t a very feasible way to include it in the exhibit; though it did help transition from room to room more seamlessly, the text was something I felt people would miss. Additionally, I printed out the elevations to include the bathroom door and the elevator. I also made a new table because the last table was much too wide.

Here are some photos of the TinkerCAD diagram I forgot to include last time.

Here are the finalized versions of the parti diagram and the elevations.

I added the doors, curtains, and elevator as well as updated the timeline interaction by raising the text for better readability.


Overall, I think that there are a lot of things that went well during this project as well as a lot of things that I wish I could do differently given more time. I really enjoyed working with the concept. It was really hard trying to curate the narrative and create the interactions. I felt like this project had a lot of personal significance which motivated me to create an exhibit to the best of my ability.

Some things I felt that I wanted to improve on include the overall delivery of my presentation and the craftsmanship of the exhibit. I felt that I rehearsed enough to create a very thorough and comprehensive presentation. I finished on time and was able to get through all of the material. However, I felt that I could’ve created more clear ways of communicating my interactions than just my storyboards. I feel animation could’ve greatly enhanced how people understood my interactions. Additionally, there were many things I could’ve done to improve the cleanliness of the exhibit. The flooring and the kiosk are things I wish I could redo given more time.



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