Tuomas Markunpoika's Distant Lights cast Spirograph-style patterns

Amsterdam designer Tuomas Markunpoika's collection of lamps project petal-shaped concentric patterns onto vertical surfaces when illuminated (+ movie).

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

To create the distinctive graphics, the Distant Lights rely on a Fresnel lens – a flat acrylic plane of concentric circles developed for lighthouses in the 19th century.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

Each of the rings on the lens is grooved at a different angle to alter the direction that light travels through it. Markunpoika has used this technique to refract light into mathematical patterns like those created by geometric drawing toy Spirograph.

"I have repositioned the Fresnel lens: it is no longer an instrument to manipulate natural forces for a single purposes, but rather the subject of contemplation as the creator of fluctuating visual phenomena," said the designer, who was apparently inspired by the raked patterns of Japanese gardens.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

The lamps comprise a single steel stem that branches into two prongs, one of which holds a ring of LEDs that sits behind the square Fresnel lens.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

When the LEDs are on, the lens refracts the light into the concentric geometric patterns that can be displayed on an nearby wall.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

Viewers witness different coloured effects across the surface of the lens as they walks around the lamp, while the graphic on the wall remains the same.

"While the object has its own logic, the viewer can only experience their impermanent and immaterial perception of the light, an active construction of the eyes in negotiation with the object and the environment," said Markunpoika, who created a collection of disintegrated furniture while studying at Design Academy Eindhoven.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

"The viewer is thus confronted by the transience of their perception of the object — or of the object itself — in contrast to the static pattern of light cast on the wall," he added.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

The lamps come in standing, table or wall versions, and with 12 different colour combinations.

Distant Lights by Tuomas Markunpoika

Other illusions created by lighting include Turkish designer Bilge Nur Saltik's acrylic panels that create moving light patterns, and Dennis Parren's CMYK bulbs and lamp that cast coloured shadows.