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NYC-based Cactus Uses Tech to Reimagine La Concha Hotel Bar

Photos courtesy of Cactus

La Concha partnered with NYC-based design firm Cactus to reimagine what a hotel common area could be. Their work transformed an underused space into a relaxing daytime lounge which, at night, transforms into one of San Juan’s hottest nightclubs.

Cactus, the Brooklyn-based design studio, partnered with Matthew Moncada and the La Concha Renaissance Resort to launch Cubic Sky, a ​sculptural, full-ceiling chandelier ​combining innovations in digital design, architecture, and technology to take experience and spatial design to the next level.

Inspired by a human-centric design approach, Cactus built Cubic Sky as a way to transform an underutilized room into a space where guests of the hotel would congregate for daytime conversation or nighttime drinks and dancing.

“Cubic Sky was a demonstration of the possibilities that are available when custom design is paired with deep architectural and technological capabilities,” said Lucas Werthein, Cactus’ co-founder. “Hotel guests now can access a dynamic experience that is deeply rooted in the geographical aspects of San Juan that they came to enjoy, enhancing an already beautiful experience.”

This geographically focused, data-generated light fixture marries architectural design with cutting edge fabrication and software technology, creating a focal point for the room. To create Cubic Sky, Cactus built each of the 300 panels using custom frames, lights and covers. To generate the trancelike patterns that play across Cubic Sky’s surface, Cactus built custom software that generates customer designs to change the light patterns, colors and intensities. The software visualizes the data in meaningful ways using a combination of graphic design, computer algorithms and animation.

This experience evolves throughout the day. While the sun is in the sky above San Juan, the light panels that hang from the ceiling cycle through a natural palette of colors and visual designs, which mimic the clouds passing by, evoking the natural beauty of the surrounding area. In the early evening, the colors of the sunset from that day are reflected by the light colors and patterns on the ceiling. At night, the ceiling reacts to the live music playing below, using inputs from the audio system to change the pattern, color and intensity of the lights.
This style creates a dynamic, energetic environment. Further, DJs, artists and hosts are able to control the light patterns and create unique, ephemeral experiences for the hotel guests.

“Cubic Sky’s aim is to bring cutting edge technology into the hospitality industry, to change the way guests experience their time away,” said Noah Waxman, Cactus’ co-founder. “With Cubic Sky, we created a system that is flexible enough to change with the times, while retaining the aesthetic beauty and excitement that this iconic, interactive light sculpture provides.”

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