‘We wanted to make a space created by people,’ says TeamLab’s Takashi Kudo, standing in the colourful grove of glowing pendants that comprised the digital-art collective’s installation at Maison&Objet Paris. Visitors to Forest of Resonating Lamps - One Stroke entered a darkened room illuminated by 633 hanging lamps made from clear hand-blown Murano glass and designed by Hirohito Saito. The pendants were fitted with coloured LEDs and sensors that responded to the movement of people, setting off a chain reaction – one stroke – that involved adjacent lamps and culminated in a 90-second loop that traced a line around the room before returning to the starting point. An ambient soundscape, also connected to sensors, added an aural component to the work. What seemed to be a whimsical arrangement of suspended objects and random motility was, in fact, a complex three-dimensional grid that had to comply with spatial constraints and to distribute a myriad of lamps based on the careful calculations by TeamLab’s in-house mathematicians.

The collective is known for pushing the boundaries of the digital world and for using technology in nonfunctional work that celebrates ‘thinking, values, feeling and art’. Forest of Resonating Lamps - One Stroke blended tangible and intangible, and its digital elements imbued static objects with a sense of movement. Kudo says it is the first time TeamLab worked with a product such as Saito’s lamps. This commercial ingredient allows Forest to be replicated in various environments, including hotels, shopping malls and the like.

He also emphasizes that the beauty of the work lies in each unique visitor experience: ‘It is the result of a particular moment; it will never repeat or happen that way again.’ He says the installation is ‘about how it makes you feel – the relationship between me and the art’. The resonance of the piece traverses the aesthetic and the social: witnessing the effect of the human presence on the art could ‘change our way of thinking, as it enables you to see the positives of people’s existence’. While visiting the Louvre without the crowds may seem appealing, Forest is an action-packed work that is actually better enjoyed in the company of others.