Let's play a game of word association. If I said to you "LED lighting", the chances are the first thing you'd say would be ... well, honestly, I have no idea. But if I were to guess, I think a lot of people would say bright, or efficient, perhaps cool, or possibly colorful. I would too. My hunch is that the word beautiful would be used much less frequently.
But that's a perception that might soon change, if London design studio Troika has anything to say in the matter. Which it does. Its mechanized, kinetic and grand LED chandelier, named Thixotropes, is, quite simply, a beautiful vision of the lighting of the future.
Strictly speaking Thixotropes isn't a single entity, but eight "mechanized systems" of carbon, steel banding and LEDs which have been combined into chandeliers under two meters (around 6.5 feet) in diameter.
In the words of the designers, "each of them [is] shaped as a composition of intersecting angular and geometric forms that are made of thin tensed steel banding lined with rows of LEDs. The constructions continuously revolve around their own axis thereby materializing the path of the light and dissolving the spinning structures into compositions of aerial cones, spheres and ribbons of warm and cold light while giving life and shape to an immaterial construct."
LEDs seem to be housed in conventional clustered lamps which illuminate the steel banding from beneath. What's remarkable is how even the effect of light distribution appears to be, and the way warm and cold light is targeted at particular parts of the structure, perhaps most effectively when one form sits within another, and is illuminated in a different hue - it's a magical effect.
The warm and cold effect is key here. Too often contemporary lighting design, particularly when making use of LEDs, takes a heavy-handed approach to color which can be, to say the least, ill-fitting with the surroundings (though color can, used prudently, be strikingly effective).
Close up, the steel banding is obvious; but from a distance the effect is rather one of a translucent forms that appear to made made of light itself. Thixotropes may have been displayed at London's Selfridges department store over the winter, but it would not have looked out of place in ... well, choose whichever Utopian science fiction vision of the future with which you're most familiar.
Thixotropes is apparently inspired by long-exposure photography, and the way it captures motion. As such it looks like a light painting, but in real time (see the video embedded below to see what I mean).
"Troika's moving structures explore the intersection of scientific thought, observation and human experience in a rational and rationalised world," say the designers, "and describes how logic and reason live in the presence of the metaphysical and surreal."
I couldn't possibly comment. But if Thixotropes is lighting from the future, it's more for the effect than the use of advanced technology. This is a thoughtful design with a beautiful outcome. What could be more futuristic?
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