Saturday, October 31, 2009

In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows was shown as part of the London Design Festival at the V&A. Showcasing the work of 21 European designers it highlights the EU directive to phase out low-efficiency light bulbs from September 2009, the new efficient bulbs are often regarded as being harsh and unsympathetic but these designers prove that energy efficient light can also be beautiful.
Having been involved with the creation of the first incarnation of Sonumbra it was a real delight to see Sonumbra II by in full working glory in a darkened setting where the moving patterns of its display could be fully appreciated. The electroluminescent wire emits a cool blue light that races and chases according to the chosen computer programme, the effect is mesmerising. A real triumph of 21st century technology combined with traditional lacemaking techniques.
Lucid Dream by Eric Klarenbeek (Netherlands) plays on the ability of glass to transmit light by using it to spread the light from the source LEDs through the entire surface of the bubbles.

Fragile Future by Drift (Netherlands) combines an electrical system and LEDs with that most ethereal of natures creations - dandelion heads, to create a sculptural piece that spreads across the wall. The light here is soft and subtle but the overall effect is one of warmth and comfort.
Medusa by Mikko Paakkanen (Finland) is inspired by the movement of jellyfish. Constructed from fibre optic rods a micro-processor controlled motor slowly moves the rods so that the piece expands and contracts hypnotically. Fortunately the motor can be stopped at any desired point so it can be held in a chosen form.

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