What might appear like an ordinary home during the day, transforms into a stunning spectacle of colour and light at night.
Called the Mood Ring House, this house in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is pretty much mood lighting on steroids. It dazzles with concealed LED lights flashing an array of colours, creating an effect like that of the vintage accessory.
According to architecture firm SILO AR+D, the residence is “an exploration of how architecture can have different day and night presences with distinct experiential and spatial qualities.”
We spoke to SILO co-founder and homeowner Marc Manack to find out more about this groovy abode.
Tell us more about this fascinating concept. How did the idea for a mood ring-inspired home come about?
“In our work, we constantly search for ways to create vividly distinct characters that are brought into appearance through extended experiences with the architecture. In the Mood Ring House, we thought of the lighting as revealing a vibrant and colourful form hidden within a demure and grayscale massing – the architectural equivalent of Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
“Also, despite the seemingly aggressive formal posture of the T-shaped section, the house is situated on the site in a way that it recedes and is almost hidden in its environment during the day, and a night, well, it is the opposite.”
How difficult was it to use illumination as the focal point of a structure’s personality and character? What were the challenges you faced during the design process?
“The illumination was challenging because we were attempting to create a projected volume of light rather than an illuminated surface effect, which is a more conventional strategy in architecture. We ran simulations but ultimately had to test the lighting in the field during construction to achieve the right configuration and even distribution of the coloured light. The lights themselves were pretty low tech, easy to control LED tape, which made things easier.”
We heard that the house was built for a modest $80 per square metres. How were you able to pull this off?
“We saved costs in a variety of ways. The biggest savings came from SILO building the house ourselves, meaning we served as the general contractor. We gained other economies by using off-the-shelf readily available materials and fixtures.
“The minimal footprint reduced foundation costs, which are at a premium in Arkansas because of the unstable soils. We also collocated utilities in the layout to minimise costs for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing distribution costs.”
We know that the lights have different settings, including random and strobe modes. But we also found out that you’re doing research on using interior temperature sensors to create a true mood ring experience. Could you tell us more about it?
“At this moment, we are working on a research project that will allow temperature sensors to control the lights. The colour of the lights will correlate to temperature, just like a mood ring. We are interested in how the house could register a real-time dynamic thermal map of its interior climate on the exterior. We hope to publish some films of these experiments soon.”
We’re pretty sure the neighbours have taken notice. What were their reactions upon seeing the Mood Ring House?
“We get this question a lot. The neighbours have embraced the house and its colour changing character. In fact, we have noticed the appearance of different coloured porch lights in the neighbourhood, we like to think we’ve started a rainbow light district.”
You can find out more about SILO AR+D and their work here.