Serendipity Door


The Serendipity Door is an interactive installation that randomly connects users with unexpected content like data from the deep web.

For the TEDxLyon conference (2014) and the TEDGlobal conference in Geneva (2015), we developed an interactive door called the “Serendipity Door.” This door has the ability to randomly connect you to new dimensions of knowledge.


“The deep web is a digital space where the worst intentions stand alongside the best intentions.”

TEDGlobal 2015 revolved around the subject of critical junctures. Politicians, neurobiologists, agro-engineers and robot specialists were invited to discuss one of the world’s most critical years since 2008. Bruno Giussani, the European director of TED, asked us to work on the topic of the deep web, as the subject is highly controversial in current media coverage (the Snowden affair…).

The result of our research concerning the deep web can be summarized by the following statement: “The deep web is a digital space where the worst intentions stand alongside the best intentions.”

Typical use of deep web services can range from buying illegal drugs to defending freedom of speech by transferring classified information.

The installation itself does not defend any one point of view, in order to allow the door-opener to make up his or her own mind as they browse through its various and potentially sensitive content.

In a sense, the door is the embodiment of a physical interaction that allows us to reflect on virtual spaces and our use of them…

Social spaces at TEDGlobal Geneva - December 8, 2015, B‰timent des Forces Motrices, Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED


Every person who opens the door will be transported at random to one of mankind’s greatest discoveries

In 2014, TEDxLyon developed a series of talks about “serendipity” (the power of making fortunate discoveries by accident). The interactive door was customized to randomly play a different video illustrating one human discovery each time it was opened. This installation captured the principle of randomness in discovery. From the most humbling scenes to mankind’s biggest discoveries, each person opening the door was transported at random to one of our greatest discoveries.

These events were mostly selected from content used in the “Golden Record,” a 12-inch golden phonograph record embedded into the Voyager probes that contains pictures and sounds of planet Earth. Other featured videos were selected from contemporary culture or chosen to illustrate sounds and images on the Golden Record.



  • Client : TED
  • Technical director : Thomas Bohl
  • Concept, Direction and Production : FLAIR
  • Photography : James Duncan Davidson/TED

Special thanks to Fatiha Hajjat, Bruno Giussani, Deborah Mattatia, Antonin Hako, WeComeInPeace and Charlotte Saysset

You might also be interested in