We present STRAIDE, a string-actuated interactive display environment that allows to explore the promising potential of shape-changing interfaces for casual visualizations. At the core, we envision a platform that spatially levitates elements to create dynamic visual shapes in space. We conceptualize this type of tangible mid-air display and discuss its multifaceted design dimensions. Through a design exploration, we realize a physical research platform with adjustable parameters and modular components. For conveniently designing and implementing novel applications, we provide developer tools ranging from graphical emulators to in-situ augmented reality representations. To demonstrate STRAIDE’s reconfigurability, we further introduce three representative physical setups as a basis for situated applications including ambient notifications, personal smart home controls, and entertainment. They serve as a technical validation, lay the foundations for a discussion with developers that provided valuable insights, and encourage ideas for future usage of this type of appealing interactive installation.