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Color-Changing Light Sculptures Depict Planetary Gases

If Barnett Newman or Mark Rothko were doing color field painting today, it might look something like this.
June 2, 2014, 5:26pm

So they say to aim for the moon, land among the stars—but what about other planets? Rotterdam-based designer Arnout Meijer creates color-changing lamps that are inspired by celestial bodies. In other words, he has perfected the art of what it feels like to be around the sun, Jupiter and Mars, all day or night with an LED constellation.

Meijer has two series of light sculptures, Thanks for the Planets, where the planets vary from blue to green, red to yellow and Thanks for the Sun, which changes from yellow to white. His goal was to find the perfect balance between day and evening light, and recently displayed the work at the DMY Berlin International Design Festival.

Standing at his booth on a Saturday, people dropped in to turn the knob to change the hue on each prototype, while taking photos (and a few trying to make GIFs). The charming Meijer explained that he wanted a fixed palette on his limited-edition art series. “It’s changing the light but also the character of the lamp,” he said.

Each light sculpture is created from hundreds of LED lights inside of a round plastic structure. Essentially, they can be hung on a wall, anywhere, from a corporate office (want to lighten the mood of a meeting?) to an art gallery (which hearts color theory). The wavy pattern of the light is meant to change the atmosphere of the room and the identity of the lamp. “It’s a sculptural object that’s all about the light but not the actual picture,” said Meijer.

Meijer is creating what could be perceived as the new abstraction—as in, if Barnett Newman or Mark Rothko were doing color field painting today, it might look something like this. Just like color field abstraction, they are titled by their hues: “Amber-Blue,” “Blue-Green” and “Red-Yellow.” They are experimentations in color using the latest materials. Meijer explains that since light technology is so durable these days, you can easily integrate it so easily. “This is the study of blending colored light,” he said.

But art stuff aside, the most interesting aspect of his series’ has got to be the actual planetary relations. What planets are they? Are we looking at Jupiter, Pluto and Mars?

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“No,” explains Meijer with a chuckle. “These are random planets with their gas mixture, who knows what planets really look like? It’s based on the idea that planets and stars dance around them and create a different color with the gas.”

Venus is covered in carbon dioxide and sulphuric acid clouds, giving it a yellow color. Mars is orange with iron oxide. The icy Neptune has a methane gas, giving it a blue color.

Colors aside, Meijer travels next to Dutch Design Week in October, will share a light installation at the Amsterdam light festival in November, and currently has a few light-related interior projects in the works, such as lighting up two restaurants in Rotterdam.He also is working on a project for the designer Richard Hutten at the Gemeente Museum in Denhaag that will debut in July. With such a variety of venues, one has to wonder: are the light sculptures art objects for a white-walled space or high-end design objects?

“It doesn’t matter if its art or design. It’s all in my fascination,” Maeijer said.

Order a light sculpture through Arnout Meijer’s website. Follow @nadjasayej on Twitter.

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