This is part 1 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out the series.

I freely admit that I have a soft spot for LED lights. Early in 2014 (during the dark months), my maker space had a light painting event, where people brought all manner of lights and long-exposure cameras to play with light in myriad ways. Never mind that it was storming outside. While the rain fell, we all hung out in the dark and played.

Gorgeous. Super jelly that I didn’t have a hand in building it. Photo Credit – Mike Solari

Then fellow Chimera hacker/maker/hustler Caleb got a project put together for Google making a gigantic cloud made of steel and lightbulbs, lit from within by color LED lightbulbs. Needless to say, I was crushed. I wanted so badly to be involved on that project, if only because it was freaking cool, dripping with light technology and computer driven to boot.

Fast forward to December. Caleb put together another deal to create an LED installation. There wasn’t many details, but all I knew was, I was doing this one. The original idea was to do an LED sidewalk, a la Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Sidewalk Lights

Time passed, the holidays ran their course, and January came.

I get pinged and the concept has evolved into a natural gas fireplace surround located in a side room of the nightclub. Call it a “VIP room”, if you will. This will involve having a wall studded with individually addressable RGB LEDs of the WS2812 and APA102 varieties. All told, we calculated over 6,000 pixels in this installation, and now I am super excited.

Measurements for the different panels of the fireplace surround

Yeah… I’m not seeing fireplace here. But I’m willing to stay the course.

This is my first foray into the art installation world, and I have a good feeling about the result.

Note: My build logs for this will be frequent, but pretty sparse in terms of prose. I’ll be trying to chronicle the ups and downs of the build and challenges as we go. I’m already a few days behind…

Check out my next installment for more LED awesome!