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Brief Published: 12 Jul 2017

Light-Adaptive ‘Lumen’ Installation


The Museum of Modern Art in New York is hosting Lumen, an immersive installation made from robotically knitted textiles that adapt to their environment.

New York-based architecture firm Jenny Sabin created the temporary pavilion using more than one million yards of digitally knitted fibre, which encompasses the entire span of the museum’s outdoor PS1 courtyard. Two large ventilated canopies provide visitors with cooling shade from sunlight, while 250 hanging tubular structures encourage interaction.

The adaptable piece fluctuates in colour and form in response to daylight, heat and movement from visitors. The studio used light-responsive, photo-luminescent yarns to enable the design to evolve over the course of the day. Soft pastel hues visible during the day change to subtle glowing colours at night thanks to its solar-active properties.

The installation also features robotically woven, sustainable fabric stools, and serves as the setting for the museum’s summer concert series.

Lumen is on display until September 4.

Adaptive materials that respond to our surroundings autonomously are a key area of interest for architects and designers, as we see seek to find versatile new formats in architecture. For more on this and the merging of nature and technology, see Shape-Shifting Materials, Sci-Bio Materials and Filtered Reality: Materials.

For more on relevant exhibitions, see our blogs on the Breathing Colour Exhibition and Art Basel & Design Miami/Basel 2017.