Selux saw the “future of lighting” challenge as a way of engaging with the next generation of lighting designers, and enlisted a trio of students in the lighting-design program at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, Germany, to design its installation. The three wunderkinds turned out an installation that was more artwork than trade-show kiosk. “We took a playful approach,” says Johannes Roloff, one of the students. “We wanted to incorporate some sort of human touch that would create a light reaction and spatial change.”

The installation featured a collection of automotive airbags suspended from a framework supported on a single steel post that was wrapped loosely with thick electrical wires. It resembled a jerry-rigged beach umbrella or a mechanical tree. Visitors were invited to walk beneath the hanging airbags, and reach up to touch them. Once touched, a sensor triggered a switch that activated a lamp and a fan within the bag. The field of airbags then illuminated as well as inflated, causing the installation to expand as though it were alive and breathing.

The air bags were outfitted with a variety of different lamp types, each casting its own unique character of light, challenging the lighting professionals in the room to guess whether or not they were seeing fluorescent, metal halide, LED, or some other type of light source. Once illuminated and inflated for a minute or so, a timing chipboard then turned the airbag off, causing it to deflate, and leaving it dormant until the next person to walk by would touch and reactivate it.


Title: Vivid Light
Team members: Julia Berner, Alexander Dronka, Johannes Roloff
Materials/luminaires: Aluminum support pole with white customized air bags, each containing a different light source (i.e., incandescent, CFL, LED), a silent fan, and a motion sensor)