samuel wilkinson installs ommatidium glass crystal lenses canopy in london
samuel wilkinson installs ommatidium glass crystal lenses canopy in london samuel wilkinson installs ommatidium glass crystal lenses canopy in london
nov 12, 2015

samuel wilkinson installs ommatidium glass crystal lenses canopy in london

samuel wilkinson installs ommatidium glass crystal lenses canopy in london
all images courtesy of samuel wilkinson




made from a canopy of 1,500 glass crystal lenses (weighing a colossal 600kg), the ‘ommatidium’ is a collaboration between industrial designer samuel wilkinson and the world-leading neuroscientist and perception specialist beau lotto. the public installation is intended to act as a new site-specific sculptural icon for london’s hoxton area that fulfils a number of distinct aims:


– the idea of celebrating the area as one of the most creative sites in europe

– the creation of a meeting point that complements the regeneration of the zone

– to offer a level of digital interactivity that reflects the neighbourhood as a technology hub

– to serve a purpose in both daytime and night

– to function as a bridge between the physical and digital worlds and demonstrate where the future of digital lives: in the space between

– to give something appealing, inspiring and useful back to the community

– to act as a proof of concept for future site-specific street interventions that enhance their surroundings in terms of both aesthetics and function — literally changing the world around it and the way people come together to exchange ideas within an urban environment

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
‘ommatidium’ contains over 1500 crystal prisms




over the course of the last year, wilkinson has been working with lottolabs to conceive and construct an installation that would meet these criteria. drawing a parallel between the fragmented nature of the digital world, with its kaleidoscope of different perspectives, and the refractive behavior of prisms, wilkinson and lotto hit upon the concept of a giant, multifaceted lens canopy that would turn sunlight into an ever-changing display of rainbows on the pavement below.

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
the canopy’s total weighs exceeds the 1000kg




in addition, anyone passing beneath its canopy will be linked, via traces smartphone app, to a wealth of ever-changing curated content related to their surroundings – ranging from local maps and inspiring community stories to offers from shops, pubs, restaurants and nightlife.

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
located in the heart of shoreditch, london

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
when the sun shines rainbows are cast on to the pavement

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
colored sparks off the canopy

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
coloured refractions

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
snub square pattern of crystals

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
light test

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
pattern test

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
canopy test with sun light

samuel wilkinson ommatidium
planting the crystals



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: juliana neira | designboom

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