MIT Illuminations

Unlocking Creativity with Responsive Lights Powered by Open-Source Code

MIT Illuminations is an interactive lighting installation powered by open-source code and driven by an evolving set of community-contributed light shows that blend narratives of science, art, and student life. MIT Illuminations, like the MIT community, is colorful, ever-changing, and alive. 

MIT Admissions and MIT Open Space Programming collaborated with us to design an artistic intervention for MIT’s newly constructed Welcome Center to invoke curiosity and a sense of wonder for visitors. MIT Illuminations’ architectural LED lights adorn the MIT Welcome Center’s entryway ceiling. 

The open-source software created for this project can be used to control architectural and entertainment lighting fixtures or, at the hobbyist level, connect to simpler LED tape or fixtures attached to an Arduino board. Light shows can take hand-coded algorithms, digital images, audio, or live data as inputs to control the color and animations of the lights. The software is published under the MIT License, so students, faculty, and community members can download the software and source code from GitHub and add their own unique personalities to Illuminations' light shows. 

MIT Illuminations is also being used inside classrooms as a tangible tool to teach creative coding, interactivity, data visualization, and lighting design to students new to the field. Outside of the classroom, the open-source program encourages users to debug and fix issues themselves, creating a collaborative community within MIT and around the world.

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Concept Development

Creative Direction

Design & User Experience

Installations & Placemaking

Interactive Lighting

Software Development

Project Management

Fabrication & Install

Wish Fountain

Reimagining wishes with an interactive digital “fountain” that responds to text messages.


Animating the San Diego skyline with the sights and culture of the city.