02. Feb 2015

Silk proteins act as a bio-optic filter

Light sculpture and photos: Julian Melchiorri

A one-watt LED with a complex web made of silk proteins encompassed in a 3D- printed structural shape: that describes “Cocoon”, a light sculpture created by the Anglo-Italian designer Julian Melchiorris. Inspired by natural structures and fractal patterns, Cocoon aims to explore the transformation of light through silk proteins: together the two components become both fragile and address our senses in many ways.

Julian firstly synthesized the protein solution directly from worm silk and crafted 2700 nano-prisms per millimetre on its surface with the aid of electron beam technology. The result was a bio-optic filter as delicate as a soap bubble. When a ray of light passes through the bio-optic surface, it is diffracted by the nano-prisms into the colours inherent to its wavelength.

The effect is magical; light develops enormous creative power.

The idea now is to create Cocoons in different sizes to see how people interact with the designed space.


”Cocoon” Silk light sculpture by Julian Melchiorri from Julian on Vimeo.

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