Dezeen Magazine

Humanscale's Milan design week installation captures "essence of human movement"

Humanscale's installation at Milan design week mimics the movements of its visitors, explains designer Todd Bracher in this movie filmed by Dezeen for the workplace ergonomics brand. 

New York-based Bracher has created an interactive light sculpture for the manufacturer of ergonomic workplace products, in collaboration with digital designers Studio The Green Eyl.

Titled Bodies in Motion, the installation aims to capture the feeling of human movement.

Humanscale's Bodies In Motion installation for Milan design week is an interactive light sculpture

"We wanted to capture human movement in a way that's truly pure and very connected to Humanscale's DNA," Bracher told Dezeen.

"We wanted to remove any cosmetic distractions from watching someone move and instead capture the essence of human movement in its most essential form," he continued.

Bodies in Motion by Humanscale
The installation uses 15 beams of light to project an image of a moving human body onto a screen

The installation, which is situated in the warehouse of Ventura Centrale in Milan, features a minimal representation of the human body formed of lights that respond to the movements of visitors.

As visitor's bodies are scanned by camera sensors, 15 motorised lights project tightly-focussed white beams onto a screen fifteen metres away. The points of light on the screen correspond to key points of the subject's body including the head, shoulders, elbows, hands, sternum, hips, knees or feet.

The sculpture, which mimics the movements of visitors, is intended to represent human movement in its purest form

"As you move your body you can move these lights across the space and what they do is they manifest as 15 points on a screen which resemble your body," Todd explained.

Richard The, co-founder of Studio The Green Eyl, created the interactive and graphic design behind the installation.

"We developed custom software that scans your body in real time, in motion with a state-of-the-art depth camera. This system controls 15 motorised moving lights that react to your motion," he explained.

Moving points of light projected onto a screen correspond to key areas of visitors' bodies

The installation was influenced by the research of Swedish scientist Gunnar Johansson, who investigated motion perception in the 1970s.

"He explored the idea that our brain is hard-wired to recognise the human figure even with very little information," The explained. "So even with just three points moving in a certain formation you will understand that this is a human arm moving, or with 15 points you will understand that it is a human figure walking."

Founded in 1983 by Bob King, Humanscale produces ergonomic products for the workspace such as seating, desks, lighting and workstation accessories designed to improve the overall health and wellbeing of workers with different needs.

The installation is located in the Ventura Centrale warehouse in Milan

"Having a deep understanding of the human body and movement allows us to design products that remain relevant over time, and will work for different people in different places all over the world," King told Dezeen.

King emphasised that Humanscale wanted to exhibit an installation that communicated the core of the brand's belief system rather than presenting a collection of their products.

New York-based designer Todd Bracher teamed up with Studio The Green Eyl to develop the project for Humanscale

"We think it's really cool to come to Milan, the most important design event in the world, and talk about the things that matter most to us," he said. "Not products but humans and human movement in particular because that is at the core of what we do and what we believe in."

The exhibition is open to the public at Ventura Centrale in Milan until 14 April.

Humanscale has previously released a desk lamp designed to prevent eyestrain from bright computer screens.