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Steve Moore with the gifts he created — the light structures and hearts which replicated the center of RadiaLumia

Steve Moore

Humans of FoldHaus is a series celebrating the many, many amazing volunteers (like Steve) who work tirelessly on their evenings and weekends to bring to life the FoldHaus Collective Art. Below is Steve’s story.

But first, a brief note:

The FoldHaus team, the art collective behind Burning Man (and Smithsonian!) favorites #ShrumenLumen and #BlumenLumen, built our most radical installation ever, and we need your help.

We’ve just come back from #burningman2018 where we debuted #radialumia to great success. If you were there and loved us enough to share a photo or a story on Instagram or Facebook, please tag us at @foldhauscollective or @foldhaus respectively so others can find us.

Finally, a project of this scale is only possible with the support of a large community. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support RadiaLumia. Or, if you know someone interested in hosting or purchasing #radialumia, please reach out through @foldhauscollective on Instagram.

Steve Moore

How did you get involved in FoldHaus? Why?

“I went to RCA [editor’s note: a very well-known design school in London] with Joerg. When I moved over here [editor’s note: to California], he told me about Burning Man. I love to travel, and he said going to Burning Man is like going to a different planet.

I love to build. Seven of us got together and wanted to build something. Joerg had the idea for the flowers [editor’s note: the Blumen Lumen origami flowers which went to the playa in 2014]. He encouraged me to join to create the flowers. It was just friends getting together wanting to do something.”

Burning man is supposedly life changing. Has it changed your life?

“I went the first time, in 2014, for 11 days. It felt like three Burning Mans in one.

I think some people go to Burning Man to be the people they want to be. I went to Burning Man and appreciated how happy I am being me. Is that wanky? [editor’s note: Steve is British and can successfully pull off words like “wanky.”] It’s an amazing experience. Eye-opening in terms of how the community works and how it’s such an amazing canvas for big art. There are art pieces there that would never get built anywhere else — the hue of the desert floor, the mountains and the amazing sky gives everything a very beautiful aura, both at night and during the day.

I wouldn’t say life changing. But I would say it’s an experience-rich environment.”

Community is a big part of FoldHaus. What’s your experience been?

“It’s amazing going from the flowers when we had five builders, all good friends, who built everything manually, to now 25 people regularly building. There are so many amazing people who have contributed and together we can build something much bigger. It’s always evolving. It’s great.

I’m fascinated by how well we all work together. We obviously disagree, yet we never argue. But we know each other so well and respect each other so well that we always solve it so quickly. Part of it is that we respect each other for our skills and we each have a voice.

It’s been amazing how excited people have got. IDEO has been great and lets us use its facility to build. People reach out via social media to help. The excitement around it is awesome.”

What’s been one of the happiest moments of FoldHaus?

“It’s always a happy moment when everyone who is building just pauses for lunch. But one of the most happiest moments was after the rollercoaster of building the flowers out on the Playa in 2014. We had spent three 18-hour days working on them, and they weren’t working. We were sad, disgruntled, fed-up and exhausted. We rode back to camp and got lunch during a rare rainstorm. Later on, once the Playa surface was rideable, we rode back out at dusk with ladders and soldering gear, intent on taking them down and fixing them. As we approached from the other side of the Playa we were amazed to see that suddenly one came on! And then another one! By the time we got there, they were all on. The five of us stood, arm in arm, and watched, exhilarated. A few random people we’d never met before had gathered and were enjoying them. That was a really good night.”

Do you consider yourself an artist?

“No… by trade I’m a designer. But I use my design and engineering skills to create what could be considered art. I’d never write down I’m an artist. Although, I’ve got an authentic 2014 Burning Man artist on a sticker on my fridge.”

What’s your contribution to FoldHaus?

“This year, I’ve done a lot of the gifts. I’m not an engineer, so once the vision was created, it was a better use of my time to create more the visual side of the fundraising. I’ve designed a lot of gifts — pendants, lamps, the heart, and the Radia Lumia logo [editor’s note: they’re beautiful, you can see many of them on our Kickstarter page]. Also my contribution is building — i’m a skilled builder and workshop person. I’m a good person to rally the troops and lead a lot of the build efforts. I’m sure I’ll be dangling from a rope somewhere on the playa.

I love to build with my friends. My wife asks: are you not bored of building? Nope. I also like leading by example and showing how I would build or figure out an interaction.

Steve, putting finishing touches on our hardhats for the build at Burning Man

I love to learn how to do something really well and teach others, for instance, the lamps.”

[Editor’s note: Steve was the amazing glue that held a lot of pieces together in the shop ahead of our trip out to the playa. If you didn’t know what to do next, Steve would have a list, and would patiently teach you how to do whatever task was in front of you.]

One of the lists Steve would oversee during a typical afternoon build session

What do you get out of being part of FoldHaus?

“The opportunity to build at scale, a scale I’m not used to building at. And with friends I respect, admire, and like to spend time with.”

By day, when you’re not part of FoldHaus, who are you?

“I’m a Design Director at IDEO.”

Thank you for reading!

If you’re curious to learn more about how we make our art happen, read about how we make the impossible possible on the IDEO blog. And, to hear more about what we’re up to, follow us on @foldhauscollective on Instagram.



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