Commission Challenge — Design an emotive and interactive light installation that can live on its own as a collectible or as part of a larger system.
Results — We tend to think of objects as lifeless material constructs where functionality is at most singular. But what if one were illuminated? An object endowed with a visually stunning and actively attractive character; a beautiful breathing light that interacts with its environment? One of the most exciting projects that is developing from the collaboration between Alex Postelnicu, Jason Krugman, and the Carwan Gallery is the manifestation of this idea as an illuminating mashrabyia.
The ornamental structure expresses a certain poetry through light while alluding to its traditional heritage; using craftsmanship and decoration, the interplay between light and shadow, as well as a physical transparency for sound and wind. Displaying the object during the day will further emphasize its classic use and structural aesthetic; while highlighting the innovative twist of this modern form with its re-imagined physicality… It illuminates rather than obstructs light.
The aim was to construct a reactive modular light in the form of a traditional mashrabyia, a prototype equipped with modern materials that would allude to the potential of a larger scaled system and possible layering.
Inspired by the window ornaments of the Middle East, the fixture is crafted from precisely cut pieces inflexibly held together by their tight proximity. The structure uses offset acrylic diffusion surfaces with contrasting warm and cool lights to create washes of color that subtly change upon interaction to convey a variety of moods. This responsiveness was fostered by embedded motion sensors, which blur the line between observer and participant, while creating a stunning visual interplay between light, space and audience. Transposed from the window screen to the room’s center this piece straddles the line between past and present; it is simultaneously familiar and surprising, poetic yet durable, vintage with a hint of vanguard.