We designed an exhibition and connected it with its online version using open hardware

Every year the Architects Bank Foundation announces 20 Arquia Grants -ten by academic record and ten by a project idea’s competition- for architecture students and young architects in order to perform professional internships in European architecture practices. In 2011, the Foundation asked us to do the design and development of the itinerant exhibition showing the ten winning proposals. “Chance and need” was the slogan of this competition, which had Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano as jury members.

Our proposal looked at how to combine immediate, direct and touch interaction of tangible exhibitions with the great easiness of the digital media for spreading out ideas. We wanted to create a closed link between the tangible exhibition and a website including the selected proposals. This way any visitor’s interaction with the tangible exhibition will be seen instantly on its online version and vice versa.

Initial proposal with a self-supporting and light structure so it could be adapted to a multitude of spaces

Tangible Exhibition

The exhibition consisted of stretched-wood arcs joined together horizontally by a structural and data rib. This horizontal rib accepted multiple settings allowing lineal, circular and L-shape assemblies.

The exhibited proposals were printed out using elastic canvas and stretched out between arcs creating a continuous surface of double curvature.

These tensioners bend the wood arcs providing stability to the whole set

The exhibition could travel all around Spain during 2011, so we made sure that it was light, very resistant and easy to assemble. We chose an elastic canvas instead of rigid panels, and the whole assembly made use of mechanical attachments, zips and Velcro instead of adhesives. Here you have the detailed assembly instructions which went together with the 30x30x240cm box containing the complete exhibition.

Digital Connection

Each selected project had a QR code that could be scanned using a mobile phone for voting the favorite project and sharing it on social networks. The voting could be made either from the exhibition or the website and were shown in real time in both media thanks to the LED displays, which are installed in the exhibition behind the fabric canvas.

The voting display is totally integrated into the printed canvas proposal

We also developed a custom hardware solution based on Arduino open hardware platform, called “LikeBox”, in order to show this dynamic information in real time. We released the source code developed in the Processing language under a free license. The free software can be found at a GitHub repository. Additionally, we published these technical articles explaining all the settings in great detail.


The exhibition was inaugurated in October 2011 in the High School of Architecture of San Sebastián and traveled along several Spanish architecture schools during 2012.

Here you have the video that we prepared to explain how the exhibition worked. Hope you like it!

Stop motion video describing the voting system process