Frontiers in Design The Osaka Experience Tools and Technology

The Osaka Experience IV: the Rebirth of the Pavilion in VR

Since we decided that our first case study would have been the Osaka pavilion, we started researching the project documentation, which was unfortunately lacking in details since the project never made it beyond the competition. In a 3D model for virtual reality, however, nothing can be left to chance. You can’t use tricks or “dark corners” to hide missing information, as you would probably do for a static render or a video. The visitors must be able to explore the pavilion as if they were actually in the physical space. Everything is out in the open. Likewise, we can’t build the scene as if it were the 3D space of a traditional videogame, where volumes and details of objects are simplified with textures.

This thinking therefore guided our work, but it wasn’t our only consideration. We have to admit that Sacripanti has meanwhile become almost a presence in our lab – we couldn’t have disappointed him.

And so, we imagined ourselves as archaeologists unearthing a building that was never built, re-constructing the Osaka pavilion in 2021, 53 years after its conception.*

Behind the Scenes Frontiers in Design Human Experience Tools and Technology

Look, no hands!

One of the goals we set from the beginning with T.E.A.M. was to make the VR experience as natural as possible, even for users without previous experience with virtual reality headsets. In this regard, the use of the Oculus Quest headset has been almost mandatory. Besides the fact that it’s the only VR headset on the market today capable of providing a complete VR experience (with 6 degrees of freedom) without the need to be connected to an external PC, the Quest also allows – thanks to four cameras that scan and process the physical space all around – to trace the user’s hands in real time, using them as controllers directly within the VR environment. “So great!”, we said to ourselves, “We can make digital experiences without worrying about cables and external sensors, and above all we can allow the user to use their own hands!”

Frontiers in Design Human Spaces The Osaka Experience Tools and Technology

The Osaka Experience III: a Conversation with Maurizio Dècina

As already mentioned in the introductory articles about Maurizio Sacripanti and the Osaka competition, one of the main topics of the research project T.E.A.M is the digital modeling of several architectural designs, some of which were chosen from existing projects. One of them is the project of the Italian pavilion for the Osaka World Expo of 1970 designed by the Italian architect Maurizio Sacripanti.

During the early stage of our research project, we discovered an account of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca made by the Italian engineer and academic Maurizio Dècina. He worked with Sacripanti on the Osaka pavilion, designing the mechanical and electronic parts of the project, and processing a system capable of achieving the movements of the pavilion. We are excited to present the following interview, conducted on July 25, 2020, aimed at understanding the contribution of Maurizio Dècina to the Osaka pavilion, his experience in the social and cultural context of those years, his vision of the union between computer science and architectural design, and finally the technological tools behind the Osaka project. We have translated the interview from Italian to English and the original text will be shown below.

Frontiers in Design Kinetic Spaces Tools and Technology

Unfolding the Origami

Our laboratory of dynamic spaces is enriched with a third experiment. We decided to test a type of movement that goes from top to bottom (and, potentially, vice-versa). We have therefore combined our Piattaforma Zero with a dynamic volume consisting of a set of panels that simulate the movement of a Yoshimura origami. The article explores in-depth how we have discretized the continuous surface of origami for construction needs. We then focus on the limits that these structures have in being translated into digital models. This is followed by the explanatory tutorial with the use of Grasshopper and specific plugins.

It is interesting to note how this example in VR, compared to the previous ones, leads to a different perception of interior/exterior for the user. Emphasizing here – depending on the degree of extension of the origami – more the aspect of privacy/exposure.

Frontiers in Design Human Experience Must-Read Tools and Technology

Piattaforma Chronicles I

Everything started with a simple exercise:

“[…] please build a basic 3D game experience with a 2100 mm diameter circular platform suspended in a vacuum. On this platform identify three circular areas of 600mm diameter each, which we will call A, B and C. Rules of the game: the player is free to move on the platform, each of the three circular areas is interactive; each interaction is activated with the presence of the player above the area itself; each interaction triggers an event […]”

That’s what we asked all the aspiring T.E.A.M. project participants. This 3D experience later evolved, becoming the “Piattaforma Zero”: our very first act in the study and research for the representation and manipulation of mathematically correct dynamic design elements in Virtual Reality.