TYPE & TECH Live Event, Volumetric Light Display

CLIENT Siemens


On a mission to reshape the future of urban living, at the Dubai Expo 2020, Siemens went about integrating their technologies across 137 buildings, making it history’s most digitalised, sustainable, and secure Expo.

At the center, ‘The Blueprint: A Customer Experience’ aimed to voice a considered narrative of how global challenges are and will be identified and met.


Sectioned into chapters, One Small Pixel approached Solarflare with the challenge of developing a novel way to both pre-visualise and design content for a room-scale light display. Voicing the various ways that Mindsphere is helping change the world that we live in, a beautiful physical sculpture centered the collaboration.

With no off-the-shelf tools at the time available to create 3D LED animations, we began a bespoke development.

light rods

Using TouchDesigner, the team created a bespoke way to visualise content volumetrically over the 112 light rods, also modelling the room and parametrically placing simulated LED rods.

Synchronised with a narrated VO, a variety of volumetric animated sequences were created to support the story. Due to our 3D modeling, real-time visualisation provided multiple feedback cycles even before the physical hardware was built.

The resulting animations were later exported into custom file formats and used to drive an LED Strip Studio controller.


Mesmerising light animations synced seamlessly to the narrative and soundtrack, making full use of the 3D nature of the custom 13,440 LED display, lighting up the whole room and the visitors within.

The display went live in October 2021, highlighting how AI is being used to optimise Smart Cities.

“This was a really great and challenging project to work on. We needed to develop volumetric visuals for a display that hadn’t even been designed, let alone built.

We created a complete content authoring and show pre-visualisation system in Touchdesigner.

Working in real-time, mixing code and animation meant the visuals could react to the audio, and we could fine-tune the content for super responsive iterations. Seeing the finished installation at the Dubai Expo 2020 looking just like the pre-vis only lighting up the whole space and the response of the audience was fantastic”

Chief Technology Officer, SOLARFLARE STUDIO