Apartment covered in 25,000 ping pong balls

Craft & Design
Apartment covered in 25,000 ping pong balls

74 Box-Box-08

Apartment covered in 25,000 ping pong balls

A pied-à-terre as permanent residence, Box/Box is an apartment for Snarkitecture partner Daniel Arsham. A 90 square foot private hideaway contained within a larger 2,500 square foot collaborative workspace, the project was conceived as an accelerated design/build experiment and was completed within a two-month period at a cost of less than $100 per square foot.

The selected site is an existing storage loft onto which the volume of the apartment sits like a gift balanced on a high shelf. Enclosed within this volume is a simple and economical program: a space for sleeping and dressing. A ladder at ground level leads upwards through a hatch concealed in the floor, entering a treehouse-like residence consisting of only a closet and a bed. A gradient of 25,000 spheres clad the walls, moving from dark to light as they meet the illuminated grid of the ceiling, made of translucent panels that reveal a hidden grid of spheres when backlit. This luminous ceiling, the skylight and the facing mirrors on opposite walls brighten and expand the room to create an illusory space that appears more expansive than actual size.

I really wanted to do something like this, but instead of covering every single wall – I was thinking of just a wall of ping pong balls with LEDs in them, but it turns out one of the top execs at Google actually already did this (it’s google-able, that’s how I found it!).

Julian Guthrie’s profile of Google’s Marissa Mayer for San Francisco magazine back in 2008 had the following…

A wall-size light panel with 576 individually placed Ping-Pong balls, which Mayer made over eight weekends spent home alone, inspired by the light display she’d seen at a 2005 U2 concert.

In the NYTimes it was also reported that she spends “her weekends doing hardware electronics”….

1. We’d love to have this light up 576 ping pong ball wall she made at Maker Faire.
2. Marissa, would you consider doing a hardware electronic’s workshop at Maker Faire?

6 thoughts on “Apartment covered in 25,000 ping pong balls

  1. Rob Cruickshank says:

    Ping Pong balls are one of the few consumer products still made from celluloid. (guitar picks are another) If you ignite a celluloid ball you will know why it’s not a commonly used material. It will burn extremely rapidly, with very little smoke. Chemically it’s a lot like the old nitrate film stock. If those balls are celluloid, (the other possibility is styrene) that’s basically a bedroom made out of gunpowder. Not a place I’d sleep.

    That said, it’s massively entertaining to ignite small quantities of balls in a controlled manner. I can’t in good conscience recommend stuffing them full of matchheads and firing them at a wall with a slingshot, but that, too is entertaining. Or so I’ve heard.

  2. Rob Cruickshank says:

    Here’s a youtube video showing 4 celluloid pingpong balls burning:
    Can you imagine 25,000?
    I don’t think I could run that fast.

  3. kpfdigital says:

    Absolutely agreed with commenter Rob.

    That’s the first thing I though when I saw this.

    Most Ping Pong balls are explosively flammable!

    They don’t just burn, they burn furiously!

    I SERIOUSLY hope that room has been heavily fireproofed — if that’s even possible.

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