The design of the Sensorium was loosely based on the radiolarian images of German biologist, Ernst Haekel. According to my friend and sometime accomplice, Dominique Reboul, who was instrumental in helping formulate the method of design, the Sensorium was built in the exact opposite way of most structures; it grew from the top down as a opposed to the usual method of building from the ground up. Only when the upper reaches were finished could the walls and other accoutrement be added. David Gala did a marvelous job with the lighting which shone from the outside inwards through the paper covered matrix of the upper structure. But perhaps the biggest delight was the kaleidoscopic extravaganza dominating the main chamber. Mounted on a hefty post the large kaleidoscope angled up towards the ceiling and through it. Viewers gazing up its length saw live images of the event on the next floor. I loved it when I’d hear someone suddenly exclaim in amazement, “There’s people in there!” We tricked it out further for the following event by including a small camera at the far end that looked back at the viewer. This image was projected on to a screen in yet another part of the building. In essence we created an installation that was literally working on three different floors at the same time.


  Making the Sensorium

The basic construction made use of cardboard tubes, randomly cut, fitted together to make protruding pentagons…
and covered with papier mache.

© Copyright Jonathan PJ Smith