When echoes find light is a speculative design experiment that explores the interactions between people and park benches. We’re working to illuminate two park benches to respond to different sitting behaviours in Argyle Square this September.

We recognise that park benches offer a key kind of public service to a city. Just by being there, they invite individuals to pause and connect to their environment, facilitating unique types of public interactions. These interactions have become a basis for exploration into the relationship between emotion, place, object and light. What would it be like if street furniture could interpret your presence and respond to you through motion and light? We invite you to immerse yourself in an interactive experience to find out.

This project was made possible by Test Sites, a City of Melbourne initiative that gives artists the opportunity to experiment with temporary projects in the public realm.


Register now if you’d like to receive a reminder for this interactive installation running nightly in Argyle Square 9 – 25 September 2019.


15 November, 2018 – Early sketches to plan out interactions between benches and sitters.

23 November, 2019 – Park bench with copper tape and capacitance sensing hardware attached to the back of the backrest.

3 March, 2019 – Configuring the LED strips for early testing of lighting effects.

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3 March, 2019 – Configuring the LED strips for early testing of lighting effects.

March 3, 2019 – An initial testing prototype with LEDs, using wood slats fitted to a polycarbonate sheet as a model to test light patterns, colours and movements.

The initial concept for this project came out from an elective subject in the Masters of Design Innovation and Technology at RMIT in late 2018 and has since been developed for the public realm. Our way of working has involved an amalgamation of disciplines, ranging from interaction design, physical computing, qualitative and observational research, as well as our own embodied experience as individuals and creative practitioners. This site records the evolution of the project to date.

27 May, 2019 – Spray-painting the lighting apparatus outside the work studio Claw Studio, Fitzroy North.

May 4, 2019 – Drilling into the metal profiles that hold the LEDs in place behind the bench backrest.

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15 May, 2019 – Printed circuit boards for the sensing apparatus, ready to populate with electronic components.

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June 8, 2019 – Wiring the lighting apparatus to a borrowed park bench, courtesy of City of Melbourne.

June 15, 2019 – Prototyping a loaned park bench, courtesy of the City of Melbourne (Back view).

June 15, 2019 – Prototyping a loaned park bench, courtesy of the City of Melbourne (Front view).

21 June, 2019 – Testing interactions at CLAW studio open night in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Attendees were asked for design input and included in initial A/B tests to evaluate interaction responses and cognitive coupling between posture and lighting response.