At St-W Lab, an innovative textile allows architecture to luminesce with the wind
AMSTERDAM – Just as bioluminescent plankton sparkle like stars in the currents of a pitch-black summer sea, so the Lightwaves installation by designer Jólan van der Wiel and Benthem Crouwel Architects glimmers and glows with every breath of the wind. Shown last year at the Amsterdam Light Festival, Lightwaves will be on exhibit at in just a few days, along with some of the world’s top designers and brands. The exciting of talks, panel discussions and workshops coincides with immersive installations such as this one, showcasing ideas and designs from the forefront of the industry.
Lightwaves is a project by Forces for Architecture, the research lab established three years ago by Jólan van der Wiel and Benthem Crouwel Architects to examine how natural phenomena can inform and serve our built environments. In this installation, thousands of LEDs mimic bioluminescent plankton; activated by the wind, the lights manifest the movement of the air in organic waves of light. Where design and man-made spaces typically seek to control the elements – or indeed, rejects them altogether in lieu of air-conditioning, heating, and the like – the lab experiments with using natural phenomena to develop new forms of architecture.
Lightwaves is one of the resulting conceptual models, materials and ‘building skins’ that is informed and inspired by the forces of nature. The installation uses a translucent fabric created in collaboration with Swiss textile manufacturer Forster Rohner, known for its textile innovations on behalf of fashion houses such as Dior and Balenciaga. The material is made of the same cloth used for flags, contributing to the resilience of Lightwaves against the elements as it moves and flickers in response to the ever-changing Dutch weather.
Watch Lightwaves in action. Audio is in Dutch.
Discover the future of spaces at : an immersive blend of lectures, panel discussions, workshops and installations such as Lightwaves. now.