Tuned Stairs


Tuned Stairs is the introductory installation for the Fabrica exhibition at Center Pompidou on 6 October - 13 November 2006. As visitors walk down the stairs leading to the exhibition, their footsteps activate a musical sound. The installation refocuses the attention of the visitor onto their footfalls - allowing them the opportunity to compose their timing, movement, and the resulting melody.
This project is a collaboration with Hansi, Federico, Carlo and Andy


On each of the stairs is a matt-switch which activates the instrument-playing mechanism attached on the outside of the banister. The armature is made of steel with a pull-thust solenoid attached to it. Above the solenoid is a tuned resonating bar facing down. As the matt-switch is activated, the solenoid order viagra momentarily strikes the resonating bar - resulting in a soft delicate sound resonating through the local area. The matt-switch's signal gets fed into an arduino board which then activates the solenoid mechanism through a transistor circuit. Each arduino has its own conduit board built to easily connect the switches to their corresponding solenoid mechanisms.

click movie below to play

or click here to view the Quicktime version

Tuned Stairs in Center Pompidou.

As people step on the red section of each stair, a solenoid hammer hits the resonating bar attached to the banister next to it

Public Opening

Lower portion of the stairs (15 stairs, 3 sets of tones, 3 arduino controllers)

Upper portion of the stairs (14 stairs, 3 sets of tones, 3 arduino controllers)

One set of instruments attached to the banister, with their corresponding controller

An Arduino with a hand soldered breakout board mounted above it

A resonating bar with the solenoid hammer mechanism

The back of the instrument chassis


click movie below to play

click movie below to play

Other movies - shot from a Celphone:


First Prototype testing a hammer mechanism with a pull-type solenoid

First Prototype using multicolored cowbell and solenoid to hammer mechanism

Third Prototype using a black cowbell and our prefered armature/solenoid combination

Third Prototype using a the resonating bars we found to offer the most magical quality of sound.

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