BM: I've also heard that you're working with some Chinese architects, Ma Yansong for example.
MS: At the moment, we're trying to develop collaborations with architects in China who we think share a mutual range of interests with us. A shared interest in how to embed media into architecture, for example. We've started at first by simply talking with people and explaining to them about what we are doing.
JD: With MAD we've done the SINOLIGHTS project [a lighting design concept for MAD's Sinosteel Tower]. It was a challenge because there were so many lights on it. In the Iluma Media Light Facade in Singapore there were almost 7,000 fluorescent lamps, but with Sinosteel I think it's over 80,000. So it was a neck breaker for architectural 3D programs, and this meant that it was not possible to generate previews of how it would look. So, together with 3D designers, we had to find a way to preview material, so we rendered the lamps, first as a texture, and with a few interior tricks we were able to give a sense of what it would look like inside of the building.
MS: For this project, we developed a complete concept for a building design that had already been finalized. The facade structure had already been set, and one of the challenges was to find a way to integrate a lighting system into an existing architectural concept. This you can only achieve when you have all the tools and experiences together and you have a technology partner (in this case Suzhou based OptoTech Company Ltd.) who can guarantee that what you have in mind is, in the end, doable - also in terms of maintenance and service. So, next to the communication in partnership with architectural offices, another important part of our development in China is also to develop and strengthen partnerships with the technology providers. This is another major effort that we're working on, because very often technology companies have developed tools and software that are not derived from a design or artistic point of view, but from an engineering point of view. Of course they work, but they are not flexible, they are not easy to operate and definitely they are not well suited to realize design concepts. So they themselves ask us if we can help their project to appear in a different way. This is something that we were not focusing on originally, but which is very interesting for us to see and to follow.