Category: Blog

An Architectural Time Machine by Heechan Park

I helped my good friend Heechan Park shoot a couple of short videos about the amazing machines he built at the Bartlett last year.

Inspired by JG Ballard’s The Cloud Sculptures of Choral D, they fire vortices of smoke, infused with scents, distances of up to 20m. Viewers experience an ephemeral sensation – bewildering bursts of smell defining their interaction with a space.

Video by Ollie Palmer and Heechan Park

Here’s the first testing of the machines near Old Street. There’s a lovely contrast between the rugged, heavy-duty appearance of the machines and the poetically delicate smoke vortex they create.

Video by Heechan Park, with footage by Ollie Palmer

For more information, head to


This project has been receiving a fair bit of press recently. Check out We Make Money Not Art‘s article here!

Dorkbot 79

I’ll be talking about ants, machines and ballet at dorkbot 79 next week.


19:00-21:00, 28 March 2012


MAT Lab, Room G2 Engineering Building, Queen Mary, University of London, 327 Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
Nearest tube: Stepney Green / Mile End
Walk up or down Mile End Road until you’re between Bancroft Road and The Queen’s Building. There’s a glass storefront with orange benches and people milling about looking studious. That’s the entrance. There should be a ‘dorkbot’ sign there.


See you there!

Facebook event

Ant Ballet at FutureEverything

My Ant Ballet installation is featured in FutureEverything‘s art show this summer, from the 16 May to the 10 June 2012.

The festival was recently listed among the top 10 ideas festivals, scattered in a plethora of interesting venues around Manchester. My installation is be in the world’s first railway warehouse building in the Museum of Science and Industry – a showcase of the future, from a building that built Britain’s past.

Entry to the art exhibition is free! Visit FutureEverything’s site for details.

The exhibition at FutureEverything has been gaining a lot of press recently – see the Press page for more.

Animating Environments

I recently taught on the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL’s joint workshop for the Graduate Architectural Design and Advanced Architectural Computing courses. The workshop ran for one week, and had around 30 students. The focus was on non-verbal aspects of human-architecture interaction. This was many of the students’ first experience of physical computing.

Here are the videos the students made of their projects.


By Norraniti Prougestaporn, Ami Kito, Young Jin Sunwoo, Ryan Mehanna, Hiromi Mikuriya, Martin Traunmueller, Ana Moutinho

No Strings Attached

By Hussnein Amin, Sicong Wang, Xun Zhou, Eleni Georgiadou, David Belzinger, Anna-Klara Veltsista, Dane Virk

Re_Acting Bins

By Maria Hadjivasili, Wei Chang, Nikola Kovacevic, Seungchul Jang, Chrysanthi Karagkouni, Petros Koutsolampros, Stefanos Gkougkoustamos

A Toast to Observation

Students: Norraniti Prougestaporn, Ami Kito, Young Jin Sunwoo, Ryan Mehanna, Hiromi Mikuriya, Martin Traunmueller, Ana Moutinho

Kinetic Leaves

By Gennaro Senatore, Sahar Navabakhsh, Christos Chondros, Lida Theodorou, Theodoros Themistocleous

Workshop details

Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
9-16 January 2012
Organised by Ruairi Glynn

Ruairi Glynn
John Nussey
Ollie Palmer

with support from:
– Ciriaco Castro Diez
– Chiachi Yeh
– Huajing Liu

Designing Science

I took part in a workshop with super/collider as part of their Designing Science event earlier last year. They put out a lovely booklet with the discussion between myself, Dan Price, Shradda Depala and Jessica Turner about the synergies between science and design.

You can buy a printed copy of the booklet from the super/collider shop, or download a free pdf version (in exchange for a tweet).

Also, please do check out super/collider! They’re lovely people, and their events are top notch.


I just found a product I worked on for sale at the Apple Store.

PocketFinder is a GSM/GPS tracking device which enables the easy location of vulnerable people, such as children, those with Alzheimer’s, the elderly, or pets and luggage. My role within the project was to develop the aesthetic identity of the product, giving PocketFinder an unobtrusive, non-technology-based, intuitive physical interface within tight technical constraints.

HMP Brixton

I found this card about a year ago outside Brixton Prison, and re-found it whilst clearing a drawer out just now. I like to think that it was a prisoner on day release who later wasn’t allowed back in because he lost his card.

All personal information has been masked for anonymity. Mostly because he looks pretty tough.

DorkBot Cardiff

I’ll be talking about Ant Ballet at Dorkbot Cardiff as part of the Cardiff Design Festival on the 13th October 2011. Anybody with a curious sort of a nature is welcome – it’s free! If there’s any more incentive I can offer, it’s that they do a mean cocktail and probably the best selection of bottled beers in Cardydd.

More information about the roster of speakers available at the Dorkbot Cardiff website. The Facebook-inclined may also like to click here.

Ollie and Abi Palmer

My sister Abi Palmer is the most fun person to spend time with. I will miss her whilst I’m away doing projects in foreign lands over the coming years.

We made this video one evening in 2011 at the Southbank Centre. I think we were supposed to be seeing a show, but danced in a gallery instead.

Bartlett M.Arch Show 2011

The Bartlett School of Architecture M.Arch show will be opening on the 27th September at Wates House. Amongst the myriad of interesting and bizarre projects will be an Ant Ballet machine, and some related films.

Opening times
Tuesday 18:00 – 21:00
Wednesday – Friday 10:00 – 18:00
Saturday 10:00 – 16:00
(The opening is probably the best time to come, but it’s open to the public for the rest of the week too.)

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The Facebook-inclined may wish to gleam their infomation from this page.