The objective of LuftIllumen© is to provide a modular lighting system to be used for the temporary (rental) market. The unique characteristic of this project is that each module would consist of a floating lighting element whereas each module would have different apertures to control lighting for each unique situation. Putting them together would form a floating cloud of light, with areas of dense to little light according to the needs of the particular space.
The original mock-up plan of each singular module consisted of a lightweight shell/skin/envelope that has specific apertures, on extruded surfaces from a basic icosahedron form, that permits a certain light density to be emitted. Inside the shell a large balloon would be fitted with battery powered LEDs and filled up with helium, making the singular module float in the air. All the modules could then be grouped together by magnetic connection points fitted in the shell surface. After taking in the comments at the final review, we are tended to go with the use of independent connection pieces to reduce the weight of the basic modular element.
The elements were created through Autodesk Maya. The icosahedron form is standard in the program. Each triangular side was then equally extruded out of the original form. A triangular opening was created in each extrusion that functions as a light diaphragm. This first object was duplicated and altered to have bigger apertures.
In Adobe Photoshop we created a square black and white image to form the basis of the exemplary assembly. This was in turn used with a blend shape to shift between the smallest and largest aperture objects.
Originally the size of the apertures were controlled by the height of each module in the overall assembly. This first digital assembly was derived from the black and white Adobe Photoshop picture that we drew, whereas the white regions were the lowest elements. The different heights were then broken in five specific heights with their respective aperture at that point.
Each separate element was then imported into Pepakura Designer, where it was automatically unfolded as a cutout sheet. This file was then cleaned up in Autodesk Autocad and prepared for lasercutting. After the lasercut sheets were finished, we just had to fold them to their form and glue it together.
The first fabrication we tested, were two icosahedron forms that each could be cut out of a single Museum Board sheet and folded together. This size was a good study model but proved to be too small to integrate the balloon and LEDs.
The second fabrication we had lasercut was a larger element out of five Pulp Boards. This material might still be too heavy for the ratio Helium to carry the element versus the dead weight of the element itself.
We are still looking for better lightweight materials to test such as Aluminum and plastics such as Polyethylene.
Testing another technique such as injection molding with plastics, could result in the redundancy of the (internal) balloon, and rather use the void within the element to directly be filled up with helium.
Link to final powerpoint: *Final Powerpoint Presentation*
Derek | Frederik