A modular interactive tile with a light-sensitive led panel

While studying in the MS Surface Imaging program at Philadelphia University, Kaijie Chen explored unimaginable and bespoke in/exterior architecture products by integrating digital media, materials and technologies. Her interactive tile was part of “Neo Skin” series which contained 3 different collections: Nature Force, Haptics and Living Skin.

 At the same time, Kaijie was assigned to explore the potential of Armstrong flooring beyond its role in current industry. She observed that modern life has long forced people to work against natural forces. People live in concrete covered urban environments, eat exotic foods out of season. But change is in the air. Nature forces like magnetism that inspired her to not only use man-made techniques like 3d printing, but to combine technology with the creativity and power of nature itself.


Nature Force is designed as a modular interactive tile with a light-sensitive led panel. Using the Spontaneous process to grow a 3D structure (iron filling) organically inside of the resin and produce one of a kind products every time a new object is made. This process allows her to meet uncertainty and surprise while creating bespoke products with limited control and to look at inventive ways of the rule of materials. The iron fillings turn into shimmer as the surface is buffed into frost. While the surface is wetted by certain conditions, it becomes transparent and the inside structure appears. Interactive led lights are stimulated by human interaction and induce a slight ripple that then spreads out to the top of the surface. Light travels inside of the sculptured tile from different angles resulting in enchanting and ever-changing light and shadow effects.

Nature Force is made as a building material for both vertical (wall tile) and horizontal (flooring) purposes. Especially while used as an exterior wall installation, Nature Force provides unexpected and poetic interactions with passersby, creating a unique experience and feel.







Design and inf0 © Kaijie Chen

Images © Moritz Bernoully

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