The Rubik's Cube, a 3D puzzle which sprung from the mind of Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik back in 1974, is not nearly as hot a pastime as it once was.
When Rubik licensed his cube to Ideal Toy Corp. back in 1980, it quickly became a worldwide phenomenon and by 2009, it had sold some 350 million copies. That made it the world's top-selling puzzle game and perhaps even the world's best-selling toy.
A classic Rubik's Cube features six faces covered by nine stickers of one of six solid colors. The traditional layout has white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow which can be arranged, via an internal pivot mechanism, to allow each face to turn independently to scramble the colored facets. To solve the puzzle, each facet must be returned to position so that the sides make up a single block of color.
It was a puzzle nerd's version of Nirvana.
Now Spanish artist and designer Javier Lloret has created, in his Puzzle Façade, a 3D printed cube based on Rubik's design which interfaces digitally with the facade of an entire building.
Using a Bluetooth connection, anyone with the device in their sweaty palms can take a crack at solving the puzzle – and seeing their efforts displayed, in full colored lighting, on an enormous scale.
The controller cube was made with 3D printed pieces which enclose a digital core connected to a laptop which controls the projection on the façade of a building. As the controller cube is twisted, LED lights on its surface respond in accordance with the changes.
Already lit with LED lighting, the Ars Electronica building in Linz, Austria was the ideal setting for Lloret's thesis project.