In conversation with Rana Abboud, Designer of Digitalis

Vin and Priyanka Rathod

Vivid Sydney Festival had many interesting light-art installations by Architectural Professionals. Last week we met Rana Abboud, the architect behind Digitalis, the installation that rattled.

To use an everyday object in an unusual way was one of the main ideas behind the conceptualisation. One would never imagine plastic cups to be flowers, but that’s exactly what Digitalis showed us.

“No two flowers are the same, so I wanted the flower cups to be handmade. A factory process wouldn’t have allowed the subtle differences between the flowers,” says Rana who, with Ewen Wright, spent days and weeks making thousands of them.

The stamen of LED lights involved 10 steps to achieve the right shape, all of which Rana and Ewen did by themselves in their apartment. It is quite amazing to see what they have achieved within the timeframe of 6 – 8 months.

“An important thing for Vivid designers to keep in mind, is how people might actually interact with their installation, and try to make their installation as vandal-proof as possible.” She recalls organisers ringing her during 18 days of festival to inform some damages. Sometimes a flower was pulled apart from its stem, or sometimes an entire stem was removed from the ground.

Nevertheless, the experience of seeing people interacting with the installation was most rewarding. She mentioned an amusing moment when the whole garden was filled with sound of clapping: “One person thought the rattle was triggered by clapping instead of proximity sensors, and suddenly, everyone joined in! It was fun to watch.” When asked if she would do it again, there was no hesitation on her affirmative response: “It was a great event to be a part of; I would definitely do it again!”

Vin Rathod is an architect and a photographer. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from KRVIA, Mumbai and Master of Construction Project Management from UNSW, Sydney. Vin is an Emerging Member of Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and works in Sydney, Australia. For Vin, each photograph is a design; a design for the subject, be it an art, architecture, city, or a sculpture. He thrives on creativity and imagination and is always developing new ideas. The photographs speak of his vision to see built-form as an artwork. A collection of Vin’s fine art photographs are constantly evolving as seen on his website Through Vin’s Lens

As an architect, Priyanka is very much interested in exploring designs with sustainable initiatives. After completing Bachelors of Architecture from KRVIA, Mumbai University, she did her Master of Architecture with major in Design from UNSW, Sydney. In her professional career, Priyanka has worked on variety of projects – urban and rural; commercial, institutional and healthcare both in India and Australia. Her volunteering initiatives include participation in the event organising team of Archikidz! Sydney 2012 held during Sydney Architecture Festival. Currently, Priyanka lives and works in Sydney enjoying her time between professional work and some personal initiatives including writing for Through Vin’s Lens

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