This year Archimedes Design partnered with Gratitude Migration to host the first ever theme camp incubator contest. The purpose of the contest was to help provide the winner with an Archimedes dome so they could start building up infrastructure for their theme camp. What came out of the contest was a complete surprise.
First off, one of the things we realized was that there needed to be some more parameters and guidance for how to make a good theme camp. It’s not enough to just have a dome. The dome is just the container. What makes a theme camp work is the content that goes inside of the dome. We feel that next year we will do a better job of working with the winners of the contest to make sure they are able to activate the space that we gift them.
The biggest surprise that came out of this contest however was actually the runners-up. Even though they didn’t win a dome, they were so inspired by the contest that they ended up taking advantage of the discount we offered to all participants and purchased their own. What they proceeded to do with it was absolutely mind-blowing.
They called their camp “Bio-Glome,” and for me it was one of the complete highlights of the festival.
This awesome team spent the weeks up to the festival experimenting with putting addressable LEDs into the dome. When they didn’t quite get the effect they wanted they even ended up buying a second set of shade stars so that they could sandwich the lighting to get some more diffusion.
After installing the lighting around the space they then took live plants and flowers and hung them from the ceiling around the dome. The effect was amazing.
Crawling inside, the first thing that hit you was the beautiful smell of real flowers. As you settled back into their provided seating, the calm movement of the diffused lights lulled you into almost a meditative state. The dome reminded me of one of those phosperesant caves filled with plant life and glow worms. It was pretty magical.
As an added little touch they also provided prism glasses you could put on the would refract the light even further. Just a nice little additive that could help you engage a little deeper.
The team also made some great choices to make sure that this dome was available to the public as well. They placed it right on the path and made sure that they had signage outside. That plus having a well-lit space, seating and a welcoming attitude made sure that they were never short of participants who wanted to engage with the space. I found it utterly successful in doing what a good theme camp is supposed to do. It was inviting, engaging and inspiring.
On top of that, when I went and sat in their dome with them, most of the conversation centred around what they wanted to do better next time. They were already problem-solving how to fix some of the stuff they wished was different and looking forward to future installations. This is ultimately what makes the backbone of a good theme camp. The excitement and desire to continually do better is what makes camps grow and stay alive year after year. I have no doubt that when we see this team again they will have even more wonderful things to show us.
We are so grateful to the Bio-Glome team who made the effort to make one of our containers into such a beautiful space. Thank you for going the extra mile to make something so wonderful for this festival. It was truly inspiring.
Thank you as well to the wonderful Gratitude Migration team who headed up this contest! One of the things that makes this festival so great is its commitment to facilitating participation. We were so grateful to be involved as partners this year and hopefully for many more years to come.