Kulturhus Orchestra

A jamming orchestra consisting of interactive coffeetables and mobile devices. Photo by Peter Kun

Peter Kun
by Peter Kun


  • Niels Swinkels, Laura Rebolo, Markus Jansson, Robert Fohlin

Kulturhus Orchestra is an interactive experience around the “fika”, the Swedish communal coffee drinking experience. It was developed for a brief to enable co-creation and cultural activities in a public space, a new culture house in Gothenburg.


We designed and developed a stable, well-scaling prototype, where different interactive artifacts can join in and form an orchestra. Through this experience, the visitors can jam with each other while grabbing a coffee.

The realization involved a websockets-based music system, where people can participate via different clients, such as interactive coffee table (Microsoft Surface) or smartphones, tablets.

My responsibility was to develop the music generation part. My approach was to build a sequencer system in Pure Data that always generates harmonic music, so people without any musical training are still able to participate and enjoy.

Design rationale

Coffee breaks (“fika”) one of the most important part of the Swedish everydays culture – the time when a group socializes, but also a moment people invite others for. Swedish people, perceived typically as distant and shy, have this specific, slow-yet-warm way of socializing.

With this project, we stir the shy fika culture with augmenting it with “jamming”; a rather typical social get-together in extroverted cultures, the very activity when strangers meet and play music together on the street or at a bar.

Pitching the concept with a story during ideation.
Sketches from the ideation process. Credit: Laura Rebolo.
Musical output generated through Pure Data code.

My role

I believe one of the most compelling type of user experience is to enable anyone to perform a complicated activity with ease and joyful involvement, without previous training. I find musical knowledge as a perfect case for this.

Thus, in this project my main involvement was to design a generative system, which makes sense of the user activity as an input, and outputs that as musical output. The realization was in Pure Data, utilizing MIDI for communication with Ableton Live as a sampler.


The beginning of the project was spent on analysing the brief and ideating within the given design space. Throughout the design process, a completely modular system was created, whilst iterating several lo-fi prototypes to test out different devices as musical instruments.

We opted for web clients and Surface in the end, because of time limitations and robustness considerations for the installation.

The different interfaces of the system.