24. Aug 2017

“Eye_Beacon”: an information booth communicating through light at the Light Festival in Amsterdam/NL.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Janus van den Eijnden

Long before we humans began to make effective use of natural light, the animal kingdom was already benefitting from and applying it in different ways. Sunlight plays a key role for animals both on land as well as in water, not only in relation to their day-night rhythm, but also for a number of other far more sophisticated purposes. In the deep sea world, for example, where living organisms counteract the darkness of their environment by employing bioluminescence – often in the form of hypnotic pulsating light – as an attraction and communication mechanism.

The team of architects and designers from UNStudio gained their inspiration for the design of the 2016 Amsterdam Light Festival ticketing/information booth pavilion from the theme of this year’s festival, biomimicry, which describes the imitation of natural phenomena for the purpose of solving complex human problems. The sculptural, yet functional “Eye_Beacon” pavilion, constructed from 316 two-dimensional and three-dimensional tensile textile modules, glowed from within, attracting attention and communicating with visitors to the light festival. This was further supported by a series of choreographed LED projections. The textile modules together created a pattern of openings, revealing glimpses of the interior. “Eye_Beacon” consisted of two cubic forms connected to one another by twisting the surfaces. Located next to the River Amstel, the pavilion also acted as a connecting link between the ‘Watercolour’ canal route and the ‘Illuminade’ land route during the light festivals.

Bioluminescent marine animals clearly pointed the way in this project, in more ways than one: they are capable of generating and emitting light via photophores, organelles or cytoplasm. The energy generated is released in the form of light – to lure or attract, to signal warning or to provide information. And “Eye_Beacon” managed to translate this natural process into a clever means of application in our human world.

Architecture and design: UNStudio – Ben van Berkel, William de Boer, Rob Henderson, Piotr Kluszczynski

Lighting design: Licht & Soehne – Florian Licht, Zumtobel

Material: MDT-tex



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