Dezeen Magazine

Studio Drift installs moving Shylights in disused Eindhoven building

Dutch Design Week 2015: design firm Studio Drift has installed flower-like lamps, which randomly rise and fall as they "bloom", inside an empty Eindhoven factory (+ movie).

Housed on the top floor of the derelict Veemgebouw building, located in Eindhoven's Strijp-S area, the five Shylights ascend and descend six metres above visitors' heads in what the studio calls "a poetic dance".

Shylights by Studio Drift

An upper floor was demolished to make room for the installation of tulip-shaped lamps, each of which is held on a mechanical pulley. Enclosed in silk petals, the lights are randomly lowered or raised, and appear to open and close like flower buds.

"Shylight is inspired by a highly evolved natural mechanism called 'nyctinasty'," said Studio Drift, which created a similarly kinetic installation of glass bars for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale.

Shylights by Studio Drift

"It regulates that certain types of flowers close at night, for self-defense and to conserve their resources."

"This principle relates very much to human emotions: most manmade objects and buildings have a static form, while everything natural in this world, including people, are subject to constant metamorphosis and adaptation to their surroundings," they added.

Shylights by Studio Drift

Technical development for the installation – originally created as a permanent feature in the renovated Philips Wing at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum – took the studio five years, and its movement relies on robotics that can be controlled by iPad or iPhone.

Studio Drift also designed Shylights with the possibility to be programmed in different ways, such as synchronisation with music.

Shylights by Studio Drift

"With Shylight, Studio Drift is exploring those changes that express character and emotions in an installation of inanimate objects," the firm commented.

"Shylight descends to blossom in all its glorious beauty, to subsequently close and retreat upwards again. Our goal with Shylight is to find life, emotion and personality in dead material."

Shylights by Studio Drift

The installation is on display at the top floor of the Veemgebouw building in Eindhoven for Dutch Design Week, which takes place across the city from 17 to 25 October 2015.

Amsterdam designer Pieke Bergmans has also created a lighting installation for Dutch Design Week, using knots and spirals of irregularly-shaped neon lights. 

Photography is by Bo van Veen.