A digital installation that seamlessly integrates architecture and space, transporting employees to an environment in tune with nature.


Microsoft enlisted the help of Gensler and Digital Kitchen to reimagine lobby spaces inside two atriums of their headquarters campus.

Gensler’s architectural solution introduced lit cube elements that can be seen/experienced from outside the buildings but are also functionally integrated into stairways. People travel through the inside of the cubes to move between floors. Digital Kitchen concepted four layers of natural environments or “strata” to bring to life inside the cubes. Each strata – water, forest, flocking birds and clouds – has a unique formal quality, such as color, shape, motion and sound.

Lastly, a critical layer of reactivity was added to truly connect employees to the environment. Leveraging Microsoft’s own Kinect technology, each strata reacts to human movement through the space. Various human behaviors and activities will produce different visual experiences. For example, moving through the water strata generates bubbles. Original sound design from DK further deepens the experience.

Each digital installation was centered on answering how can we better connect humans with the physical and natural environments around them? What discoveries can we make in the spaces between the natural and digital worlds, while nodding to Microsoft’s rich history of technical innovation?

The resulting installation continually shifts throughout the day to reflect the constant motion and life of the natural world, and to keep the experience fresh for the employees who come and go regularly.

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