Amazon Understory

Understory Visitor Center

The Spheres @ Amazon HQ

Year

2018

Agency

Belle & Wissell, Co.

Client

Links

Role

Senior Interactive Developer

Team

  • Gabe Kean, Principal
  • Sarah Trueblood, Studio Producer
  • Edward Tang, Technology Lead
  • Thomas Ryun, Creative Director
  • Edrea Lita, Senior Designer
  • Natalie Karbelnig, Content Development Manager
  • Serge Bokach, Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Jesse Solomon Clark, Sound Designer

Tags

  • Visitor Center
  • Installation
  • Digital Signage
  • Soundscape
  • Front End Development
  • CMS Development
  • Touch Table
  • Motion Sensor
  • Multitouch

Languages/Libraries

  • JavaScript
  • ES6
  • Electron
  • React
  • Webpack
  • HTML
  • Sass
  • Craft CMS

The Spheres are Amazon's compelling take on an employee workspace—a giant glass-domed conservatory housing some 40,000 plants. To tell the story of the building and its world-class plant collection, Amazon opened a public visitor center called Understory at the base of the Spheres.

Amazon Understory

Generative Soundscape

The exhibit space centers on a large scale audio/visual media installation surrounding visitors with the sights and sounds of the plant collection and architectural environment above.

Working with sound designer Jesse Solomon Clark, I created a generative soundscape engine for Understory that produces an ever-changing ambient audio experience within this space.

The engine uses layers of oscillating waves and a gradient-noise-powered piano roll to continually create new combinations of sound from a diverse library of sound beds and musical phrases. The density and intensity of the composition vary over time, echoing the layers of temporal change and activity present in a dynamic, living ecosystem like the one above.

Amazon Understory
Amazon Understory

Sphere Discovery Stations

Surrounding the central media experience are five modular exhibits. I led the front-end development of a themeable touchscreen interactive application that lives at each of these exhibit stations, allowing visitors to dig deeper into particular aspects of The Spheres—from the design and construction of the building to how the plant collection was put together. The interactive makes use of the Leap motion controller to react to the user before their fingers touch the screen.