olafur eliasson creates starbrick light for zumtobel
apr 27, 2009
olafur eliasson creates starbrick light for zumtobel

the ‘starbrick’ is an experiment with light modulation and space.
the idea of a simple building principle: a brick unit which can either
function on its own or be integrated into a larger structure.

image © designboom

the basic structur of ‘starbbrick’ is a cube on whose six surfaces additional
cubes have been placed at a 45 ° angle. the additional cubes serve as
connectors so that several ‘starbricks’ can be con-joined.
the ‘starbricks’ can be assembled into groups of any size and combination,
developing in different directions.

image © designboom

‘in my studio, we initially focused on the spatial challenges involved in the shaping of a complex
geometric brick. this led to the development of the star-shaped modules, based on a stackable principle,
which produce three types of space: the solid structure of the module itself, the negative space at its
core in the shape of a ‘cubeoctahedron’, and the polyhedric spheres that appear between the modules
when stacked. I have attempted to develop a module that, while functioning as an object in itself,
can also be assembled to form multiple basic architectural elements such as walls, whether freestanding
or integrated into an overall structure, suspended ceilings, columns of all shapes, sizes and volumes –
theoretically, you could build an entire luminous house out of ‘starbricks’!
the expandable principle is a generous one that makes it possible for people to buy a lamp system that
can be related to its surroundings. depending on the context, you can change and rebuild the system;
whether in a small study or a concert hall, the module can be used as an architectural building unit,
merging light and volume. by further developing the current prototype with zumtobel,
I hope to be able tooffer this light module for everyday use and living. it poses questions that are
central to both contemporary art and society: how does light define space?
what politics of light infuse our immediate surroundings?’
(olafur eliasson)

‘starbricks’ presented in the sawaya and moroni showroom in via manzoni for the milan design week 09
image © designboom

the ‘starbrick’s LEDs are organised to emit white light while also creating a luminous,
yellow and kaleidoscopic core in the shape of the cubeoctahe- dron. the body of the module
consists of two kinds of polycarbo- nate: a translucent type optimises the quality of the light
from the LEDs; an opaque and durable type makes up the body of the module, its matte black
surface counterbalancing the light volumes. when you stack the ‘starbricks’, the opaque surfaces
are reduced, to the point where the white light generates the polyhedric spheres between
the bricks. since the LEDs are dimmable, the module has various light settings, offering
both functional and ambient light.

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

the ‘starbrick’ consists of injection moulded polycarbonate components
with a matte black finish. the semi-transparent, yellow, reflective surfaces at
its core are backlit by LED’s. the light from the outward facing LED boards is
concentrated and evenly distributed via polycarbonate refractors.

concept rendering



starbrick structure

the austrian company zumtobel has been following for more than 50 years,
developing innovative and individual lighting solutions that fulfill all requirement
as regards ergonomics, economic efficiency and environmental compatibility and
create added value in terms of aesthetics.
with integral lighting solutions, zumtobel creates lighting scenes which enable
people to experience the interplay of light and architecture in all its diversity.
light unfolds its special creative power in an interplay with space and architecture.
the combined use of luminaires, lighting management and emergency lighting systems
corresponds to the architecture of a building and is matched to the application.

‘negative quasi brick wall’ by olafur eliasson, installation, 2003

‘soil’ quasi bricks’ by olafur eliasson, installation 2003

‘quasi brick wall’ by olafur eliasson, installation, 2002

artist olafur eliasson was born in copenhagen, denmark in 1967.
for a long time, eliasson has worked on the idea of bricks based on an
all-space-filling principle. he studied the geometric principles of bricks and quasi
bricks through many cardboard models until he realized installations in steel, wire,
mirror surfaces. the he thought that  the unit had the potential to be used as a
space-modulating light device.

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