light 1 Light-emitting diodes (LED) are getting smaller and more efficient. Available are a variety of standardized sockets, LED-strips, matrices and bulbs. In the beginning, transformers were large and heavy, now they are so small that they can be integrated into a socket. This opens for new design ideas that are, arguably, not fully explored, neither by the market nor by the industry.

Given that LEDs need less power, rendering the current harmless, we also have more possibilities of conducting electricity. With help from digital fabrication, we could design our own cables, with less or even no isolation. We also have the possibility of 3d-printing our own screw terminals and other details needed for optimization of light design.

The development of new light technologies and materials is rapid.
To what extent are these innovations used by the industry?
Could new digital fabrication methods contribute to new designs?

Pentakis light by Fredrik Skåtar

light 2 There are a wide range of light transmitting materials available; redirecting, diffusing or mirroring light beams. These open for completely new design ideas, e.g. transmitting light from a clear piece of acrylic glass with no visible light source.

Last but not least, digital fabrication offers us vast opportunities for experimenting with geometry and various materials for light shading and form. Throughout the course, a strong emphasis is to maintain a symbiosis between artistic expression, technology and function/application.

Astrohedron by Fredrik Skåtar

light 3 “Fyr” by Hopf, Nordin

Design phase 1

● Lectures on innovative light designs throughout design history, from a wide range of scales and applications.

● Lectures on current technologies, materials and examples where these have been applied. Partly carried out by invited guest lecturers.

● Geometry workshops. Students will explore polyhedra, assembly details and kinetic design setups with help from hand sketches, physical models, Rhinoceros3d and Grasshopper algorithmic modelling.

● Rendering workshops. Students will simulate the first sketches using TwinMotion, Keyshot and/or VRay.

light 4 Design phase 2

● Case study drawing workshops. Based on lectures and workshops from design phase 1, students will make case study models of their project application. That is, who is the user and what light conditions and parameters would fit his or her needs?

● Based on the findings from the case study a first sketch is made which is discussed in a group presentation.

Design phase 3

● Investigating parameters. What technology would fit and what materials would be used? The sketches are analysed in order to start the design process.

● Sketching is carried out by hand and/or with physical models. These are precisely analysed and materialised using Rhinoceros and Grasshopper, where the latter offers algorithmically changeable design solutions. Light simulations are carried out parallel to this with help from the student’s chosen rendering software.

● Design phase 3 is concluded with a midterm presentation

“Torch 360°” by Claudia Martinelli & Alessandro Mariotti, Free University of Bolzano 2020

light 5 Design phase 4

● Students explore construction methods. Materials, sockets, conductivity concepts and so forth are explored and continuously discussed with teachers and fellow students.

● Students develop their designs and go deeper into details. The artistic concepts is the driving force which automatically generates research on all technological means available to reach each student’s individual goal.

● Design phase 4 is concluded with a final presentation and an exhibition.

“Light bones”, Andrea Ferri, Free University of Bolzano 2020

— exploring geometry, technology and materials