Created by Olafur Eliasson in partnership with Zumtobel, Starbrick is a new type of object, between art and design. 1-b

The basic structure of the Starbrick is a cube on whose six surfaces additional cubes have been placed at a 45° angle. The semi-transparent, yellow, reflective surfaces at its core are backlit by LEDs. The light from the outward-facing LED Boards is concentrated and evenly distributed via polycarbonate refractors.

These are Eliasson’ words:

The Starbrick is an experiment with light modulation and space. In my studio, we initially focused on the spatial challenges involved in the shaping of a complex geometric brick. This led to the development of the star-shaped modules, based on a stackable principle, which produce three types of space: the solid structure of the module itself, the negative space at its core in the shape of a ‘cubeoctahedron’, and the polyhedric spheres that appear between the modules when stacked. During recent years, my studio has conducted a number of light experiments in collaboration with Zumtobel. In one such experiment, we decided to test different qualities and hues of LED light, placed within the individual modules, which eventually resulted in the current Starbrick.

The Starbrick’s LEDs are organised to emit white light while also creating a luminous, yellow and kaleidoscopic core in the shape of the cubeoctahe- dron. The body of the module consists of two kinds of polycarbonate: a translucent type optimises the quality of the light from the LEDs; an opaque and durable type makes up the body of the module, its matte black surface counterbalancing the light volumes. When you stack the Starbricks, the opaque surfaces are reduced, to the point where the white light generates the polyhedric spheres between the bricks. Since the LEDs are dimmable, the module has various light settings, offering both functional and ambient light.


I have attempted to develop a module that, while functioning as an object in itself, can also be assembled to form multiple basic architectural elements such as walls, whether freestanding or integrated into an overall structure, suspended ceilings, columns of all shapes, sizes and volumes – theoretically, you could build an entire luminous house out of Starbricks! The expandable principle is a generous one that makes it possible for people to buy a lamp system that can be related to its surroundings. Depending on the context, you can change and rebuild the system; whether in a small study or a concert hall, the module can be used as an architectural building unit, merging light and volume.

By further developing the current prototype with Zumtobel, I hope to be able to offer this light module for everyday use and living. It poses questions that are central to both contemporary art and society: how does light define space? What politics of light infuse our immediate surroundings?


Available from autumn 2009.

Posted on: Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 at 16:37
Filed under: design
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