NUCLEI is a wall hanging lamp that brings the visual associations of unseen yet familiar world into a space through optical texture with colored patterns when it’s lit. An object with smooth warped surface changes the appearance dramatically between lit and unlit states.
The warping surface is made of two layers of polyolefin film (commonly known as shrink wrap) with a combination of different paints of various fluidity sandwiched inside, and the heat application on the film creates unexpected interactions among paints as well as with trapped air inside the layers. In daylight, the object presents itself as a smooth and solid volume of dark complexion without a hint of what it is made of or what it does. When the light is turned on, the colored pattern emerges on the surface as if an image of nebulae in a faraway dark space or microscopic view of cells through bio-imaging. It is an exploration on the relationship between the seen and the unseen visual familiarities applied to the function of lighting fixture.
The profile of object was generated by the image of cell division (mitosis) with two cores that house the dimmable LED lamps. The core part is lifted off from the back panel with two transparent tubes placed perpendicular to the back panel. The inside of the back panel is painted in black, which absorbs the inner reflection and make the unlit surface appear solid and externally reflective.
Two sheets of film were prepared with various colors of acrylic metallic paint, oil-based pigmented black paint, and a small amount of water on the inside facing surfaces. After these two layers are pressed against each other, they are placed around the panel with transparent tubes for light bulbs, securing all the edges in the back to tightly hold the films. When the heat gun is applied on the surface, the sandwiched contents interact with each other as well as move around with pressure as the layers of film shrink to form the optimal surface. The patterns of colors and the sizes and positions of trapped air bubbles and water evolve throughout the heating process.
It is 30cm wide and 60cm tall with about 15cm bulging out in two peaks. Rather than fixed wall sconces, the hanging mechanism of this lighting in the back enables the object to be hung and moved around in space with the cord. They can also be hung as a group, which creates its own graphic effect of the objects on a wall.
The rather unassociable form of NUCLEI, when it’s lit and the colored patterns emerge from the dark background, triggers our visual association to expand to natural worlds that are unseen with naked eyes and yet strangely familiar.