Issue 004: Synesthesia ft. Playmodes

Issue 004: Synesthesia ft. Playmodes

Letter from the Curators

When we started this experiment, we knew there were a few things that were absolutely critical. First, we knew our mission would be to give a peek behind the curtain, look a layer deeper, and show what goes into creating amazing work that lives in the in-between world of physical and digital.

We didn't know exactly what to expect, and we've been delighted to see recurring themes about collaboration and inspiration come up in our conversations. We're reminded that how we are in this world is as important as why we are here. All of us can benefit from a little encouragement to stop, be present, and take a breath from the hustle and bustle of the world around us.

We want our focus to always be on quality, not deadlines. We are interested in deep conversations, more than many conversations. We'll do our best to deliver an in-depth interview with amazing creators each week, and also we might take a break as needed to live. We hope that you, too, can take the much needed and deserved time off when compelled.

With this in mind, we are thrilled to present our 4th issue, spotlighting the extraordinary duo Playmodes and our central theme of 'Synesthesia.' In medical terms, synesthesia refers to the blending of senses, such as perceiving colors through smells or envisioning sounds. While often associated with psychedelic experiences, it also pertains to immersive installations that go beyond merely engaging multiple senses, creating a unique fusion of intensity, tone, or other attributes through technology that enriches your sensory experience.

We hope you enjoy getting a little lost in this one today, and that you remember to stop and taste the roses, smell the sunshine on your face, and feel the birds singing.

Thanks for joining us,
Lee & Dorothy


Eloi Maduell (left) and Santi Vilanova (right) have worked together for 20 years from their studio in Spain. They joined us to discuss collaboration, designing for the senses, and even a little magic.

This interview was a lot of fun, and the energy going back and forth between the two of them was infectious. Check out some of the highlights about their work and collaboration:

It's a very tight relationship where we don't need to agree on everything. But when we can complement each other, it’s very beautiful.

We want to create an abstract language which can be recognizable by everyone, anywhere, and not have the need for words or translation for people to recognize.

They even went philosophical:

When you invent the brush, do you know all the possible outcomes that this brush is going to give?
Cluster, by Playmodes, is an immersive audiovisual site-specific installation that explores relationships between space, time and perception. Geometric schematization of architecture using light instruments transforms the space into a container for the abstract language of light and sound.

Synesthesia Curated

If you enjoy our featured artist, here are other projects you might like:

In "Field of Hearts," artist Frankie Boyle harnesses participants' heartbeats to craft a captivating, individualised light and sound experience within a beautiful field of fibre optics.

TeamLab's "Floating Flower Garden," offers exhibition viewers a serene and interactive experience within a vast white space filled with over 2,300 suspended flowers, creating a kinetic maze of botanical life enveloped in delicate pink petals and lush greenery.

Paris-based studio Spectre Lab crafted a stunning multi-sensory dining experience, featuring dome projection visuals aligned with the theme of Ocean, Earth, and Humanity, for a charity event in Monte-Carlo.

Visitors to UNIQLO #TatePlay were encouraged to engage in a creative act of construction and reconstruction by tilting, stacking, and balancing 400 colorful cubes in Rasheed Araeen’s interactive sculpture, 'Zero to Infinity,'. (No link available)

Studio Eness’ installation, 'Modern Guru and the Path to Artificial Happiness,' guides visitors through a whimsical world, featuring enchanting inflatable characters, one of which is an embodiment of artificial intelligence, the Modern Guru, delivers thought-provoking messages generated by AI, prompting contemplation about the nature of guidance.

DARKFIELD presents a series of multi-sensory audio encounters housed within purpose-built shipping containers, employing binaural audio, sensory deprivation, and sensory effects to immerse audiences in narratives that diverge from the physical space they inhabit, delving into the complexities of human psychology and perception.


News, tools, and launches you should know about.

Exhibit Foreign Nature is currently open at L'Atelier des Lumières.
The Lumen Prize for Art and Technology competition invites artists worldwide to submit their innovative digital artworks across five categories, offering an $18,000 prize fund and a chance to be recognised by an esteemed panel of judges.
Electrosonic gets technical in their new "Guide to Seamless Experiential Technology Integration."
Float4 has launched a beautiful underwater takeover of the screens at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Media artist Eylul Duranagac Alıcı, PhD has unveiled a new data painting collaboration with SpaceX and NASA, called "Black Hole". In order to see it in person, you'll have to go to the moon! Or you can read about it here.
Universal opens in Minecraft, as Disney goes with Fortnite.

Divergent Inspiration

We believe some of the most powerful inspiration comes when we least expect it. Each week we'll share something that has us excited, outside of our normal source of material.

Unlocking Creativity: The Power of Collaborative Teams

Having been involved in numerous large-scale projects across the globe, I've consistently found that the key to their success lies in collaborating with a communicative and cohesive team. Regardless of the project's scope or location, a positive, collaborative approach has proven to be indispensable. When team members are open to sharing ideas, listening to each other, and working towards a common goal, the creative process thrives.

Conversely, when friction arises, communication breaks down, or egos dominate, creativity inevitably suffers. In such instances, the project's vision can become obscured, leading to delays, misunderstandings, and compromised outcomes. I'm fortunate to be working with an amazing team at the moment. No hierarchy, just great people, collaborating and having fun, with the common goal of creating memorable experiences that transform. This reinforces the notion in my mind that when individuals come together with a shared purpose and mutual respect, extraordinary things can be achieved.


USS Midway

I'm not normally one to be known for any kind of deep fascination with the military, but what I am completely obsessed with is preserved minor design elements. If we're walking the streets of Italy or Morocco together, you'll find me taking pictures of architectural details, ornate door handles, interesting typographic signs, etc.

My parents were in town recently, and my dad is a Navy veteran, so we took the walk down to the USS Midway, which has been turned into a museum. Preserved there (and now in my phone) are engravings, training manuals, roster sheets, and a crazy amount of memorabilia illustrating life on the ship.

Professionally, I talk a lot about design languages, and this almost-accidental design language is so strong. It's one of those things you experience as a designer, picking out little details of elements you would have arranged differently—but when you step back, you can't deny the cohesiveness of these elements working together.


This newsletter is brought to you by
Lee Billington & Dorothy Di Stefano.