Illuminated round metal sculpture on wall

Hero Project

Visualizing Sustainability for United Therapeutics

Client

United Therapeutics

Challenge

After designing the most intelligent sustainable building, United Therapeutics sought to inspire employees and guests with the company’s feats of net-zero building engineering. The company aimed to invite a sense of self-reflection, participation, and shared responsibility—to underscore our collective ability to rethink our built environments and achieve sustainability everywhere.

Opportunity

Create a digital and physical experience design system that inspires, educates and motivates. Convey that sustainability is a priority and invite others to understand the integral energy role they play within their own environment.
Exterior shot of building with glass facade and red roof
Interior photograph of room with large illuminated circular sculpture on wall
Audience Impact
# Avg Daily Visitors
200
Spatial Impact
Square Footage
70,000 Sq Ft
Global Impact
Company Size
1000 FTEs
Photograph of light reflecting off of two mirrors and intersecting

Relaying a 24/7/365 Story in Real Time

While the net-zero energy systems of the building were incredibly complex, our goal was to simply and boldy communicate that the Unisphere building operates almost like a living entity, with its own consciousness and repeated behaviors. We designed an artful, circular form inspired by the cyclical nature of the seasons, the sun and the sky, and the passage of time.

The Energy Dial—the arresting installation in the central atrium—uses real-time data to showcase the ebb and flow of the building’s energy. The sculpture shines light outward whenever the building is producing a solar energy surplus and shines light inward if it’s using more energy than is being produced. Its form, scale and behavior encourages a symbiotic relationship between occupant and building as people understand its story immediately.

Photograph of white light reflecting off circle of metal panels on wall
For reference only, credit: Solarcan, “The Solarcan Matrix”, 2019
Gif of three circles pulsing on purple background
Arcs of light over dark landscape
Render of a beam of light reflecting across circle of metal pieces

Aligning on the Data-Driven Approach

To synthesize the complicated, unseen networks of energy data available from the Unisphere building, we collaborated closely with the executive team at United Therapeutics and the building architects at EwingCole.

A deep strategy phase led to a comprehensive understanding of the net-zero subject matter, from which we organized a storytelling framework that we applied throughout the building at a variety of scales, and digital/physical expressions.

We developed original artwork, environmental graphics, and digital animations that told relevant stories of sustainability that engage employees and guests every day.

Render of two people standing under circular light sculpture
Light pulsing in circle on black background
Up view render of circular metal sclupture on wall with light reflecting inward
Photograph of a portion of metal circular sculpture on a partial wall
Woman standing in front of wall with illuminating white lines behind diffusion

Empowering Stewards for Our Planet

The Energy Dial and accompanying designs give a voice to the intricate engineering and cutting-edge technology required to reduce United Therapeutics’ energy footprint. More importantly, these installations inspire Earth-conscious attitudes and spark United Therapeutics’ ongoing leadership dialogues that influence urban policy and global innovation practices—and help us learn to coexist with nature while advancing the built environment.
Animation of white lines on black background rippling outward
Diagram of screen with blue lines scrolling upward with white lines extending outward
Mockup of print showing abstract building with text to right side
Render of people standing in hallway with the word "solar" on wall in blue and orange text
Informational panel that says "I use solar panels" in orange text with diagram underneath
Infographic that says "heatcool" in orange to blue gradient text
Overhead photograph of room with pool and circular illuminated sculpture above
Angle photograph showing large room with pool and circular illuminated sculpture above
Video of circular metal sculpture on wall with white light reflected within
Photograph looking upward of circular metal sculpture on wall with white light radiating outward
Photograph of circular metal sculpture with light radiating inward and outward in circle
Photograph of man touching screen with pulsing white lines radiating from sides of screen
Closeup of man touching orange screen with pulsing white lines coming from sides of screen