BLOOM : A smart, shape-shifting textile surface for acoustic modulation
BLOOM regulates acoustic issues in large spaces by opening and closing a knitted surface to provide the right amount of sound attenuation when it is needed. During the development of this project, our team was captivated by the idea of an acoustic cloud that can be folded as simply as origami paper, by using technical knits, smart materials, coded movement, and small modular components. We envision the invention to be suspended from ceilings, where it is sensitive to sound and therefore interacts and behaves intuitively, opening or closing to create a responsive environment.
The structure of BLOOM’s surface opens to absorb sound waves and prevent direct reflection of noise. When reverberant sound is desirable, the surface closes up to permit increased reflection around the space that BLOOM inhabits. The geometry of the knitted origami surface is based on pedesis, wherein slightly dissimilar triangular shapes repeat in an aperiodic manner, thus absorbing a broad range of sound frequencies.
Additionally, the fibers that are used in the technical knit have a fluffy, hollow structure, with desirable properties for absorbing sound. The fluffy surface interrupts sound reflection so that the sound waves propagate within the surface itself. An increase in the volume of noise that one experiences in a room causes the surface to unfold, exposing more and more fibrous surface area to absorb the unwanted din. Hence, BLOOM can manage the quality of sound that is needed for a specific situation and crowd.
Each flower cluster that makes up the surface of BLOOM is designed and tailored from fiber to shape. By being able to custom design the fiber yarns, we control the acoustic qualities of BLOOM, and its lightweight construction. Every single stitch is digitally programmed, which creates the shape and folds instantly for direct application.
Creating a modular system provides us the freedom to easily customize BLOOM for clients. The system could be installed in intimate restaurants and conference rooms, or large airports, schools, auditoriums, and libraries. Each basic module contains a standardized actuator component with six arms that are digitally controlled by a microprocessor, combined with weighted battens that are integrated into the textile. The entire system is designed to be infinitely variable. Thus, BLOOM has the capability to be adjusted in scale, material and color, due to the use of digital knitting technology and the repetition of modular, manufactured components. The production of BLOOM for a specific installation would ideally be done near the location of the project, by providing digital files to regional fabricators, but the entire system can also be easily shipped for installation. The lightweight, folding pieces makes transport relatively efficient and inexpensive.
BLOOM has passed the discovery stage and we now have a small proof-of-concept prototype in New York City that works.
Jesse Asjes, Jsssjs Product Design
Laura Wickesberg, WickesWerks LLC
Peter Yeadon, Yeadon Space Agency
Music Credit: “Blue Skies” by Silent Partner