Interactive art connecting visitors with Lincoln Motors

Project info

As a designer at SOFTlab, I worked on Nautilus, an interactive and responsive installation commissioned by Lincoln Motors and The Atlantic. I led a team of 6 people to build and install over 100 touch and sound responsive poles. Located at Pier 17 in Manhattan’s Seaport District, 95 touch-activated poles emit sound and light. Simultaneous interactions with the installation’s poles create a symphony of sounds and a field of glinting lights. The installation acts as a large reactive network symbolizing the collective spirit of visitors and representing the power of community. The end result was increased visitor foot-traffic and an impactful social media presence, attracting new visitors to the site.

assembly manager

SOFTlab founder
project manager
2 designers
2 design technologists
4 installation contractors

May - September 2019
5 months

Rhino 3D
Adobe Illustrator
laser cutting
3D printing



How might we create an immersive experience that embodies the brand essence of Lincoln vehicles?


Increased social media presence and foot-traffic to the Pier 17 site with visitors interacting with the art and connecting with the Lincoln brand.

Final built design

Visitors are drawn to the site at Pier 17 by a colorful field of poles emitting light and sound.

The installation is dynamic and reactive to users and the site. On each pole, touch-activated sensors embedded in an anodized aluminum cuff lights up when touched. Speakers at the top of each pole are responsive and emit a sound when noise is detected. Colored acrylic panels filter views and cast multi-colored shadows on the ground.

Prototyping + assembly

I collaborated with design technologists to translate the project concept to physical reality.

Prototyping and material testing were conducted prior to pole construction, using both off-the-shelf and custom parts. Collaborating closely with design and engineering, I used 3D software for digital fabrication and conducted material tests to ensure their durability.

I developed efficient construction workflows and led a team of 6 people to assemble over 100 poles.

Pole components included custom bent metal brackets, powder-coated steel, anodized aluminum, frosted acrylic tubes, and 3D printed connective joints. I designed a jig to aid the efficient and consistent assembly of over 100 poles.

On-site assembly

I helped lead the on-site installation over 5 days where I organized the site logistics and taught others how to build.

The installation involved several on-site tasks such as installing raised floors, arranging computers and electrical equipment, mounting the poles on the floorboards, and testing the electrical work. The on-site installation required organization, adaptability to unforeseen obstacles, and efficient planning.


The project success resulted in a strong social media presence, increasing brand and product recognition for both Lincoln Motors and SOFTlab.

Besides supporting the business objectives of Lincoln Motors and The Atlantic, a successful installation was advantageous for SOFTlab's business goals as well.  This increased visibility led to new clients and future projects for the studio.


I gained experience in leading a team to swiftly adapt to unforeseen onstacles.

I led newer team members by setting an example through teaching, using humor, and maintaining a positive attitude, all of which helped to alleviate stress and foster camaraderie. With a tight timeline of 5 days to complete installation construction, an unexpected rainstorm hindered our progress, forcing us to abandon outdoor work for safety reasons. I swiftly pivoted our efforts towards indoor tasks, such as teaching others how to build parts using my established systems.

Looking back, I would have conducted user testing to better predict user behaviors.

Although extensive prototyping and testing were conducted within the studio, user behavior was not as deeply explored. Therefore, some user behaviors were not anticipated. Conducting user testing on-site or in a similar context could have assisted in the implementation of solutions that accounted for realistic user behavior towards the installation. To enhance the design of future projects, I would have also developed project success metrics and planned strategies to gather those metrics.