Dezeen Magazine

BIG designs modular Alphabet of Light for Artemide

Milan 2016: Danish firm BIG has created a modular lighting system that can be rearranged to form different letters of a bespoke typeface.

BIG collaborated with Italian lighting brand Artemide to make the Alphabet of Light, which was unveiled during an installation at this year's Milan design week.

Alphabet of Lights by BIG

A series of wall-mounted letters are formed from bent and straight elements of LED strip lights joined together by magnets, with the intention to make assembly easy for the user.

"We have designed a modular system of straight and bended components of light that enables you to write with letters, be it a straight line or a curve," BIG partner Jakob Lange told Dezeen.

Alphabet of Lights by BIG

"When the Alphabet of Light is fully developed any user will be able to customise the light for any space within minutes," he added.

Two straight lights of different lengths and two curved at different angles form the base modules, which are then connected together at joints.

Alphabet of Lights by BIG

"Once the principles were established, the Alphabet font wrote itself," said Lange. "Plus we realised that the system gives people the freedom to design their own font using four or five light tall letters."

The joints also light up and come in six varieties, including three curved at different angles. There is also a straight, cross- or T-shaped option.

Artemide created a connection using electromagnets to allow for quick reconfiguration of the lamp. When illuminated, the joints become hidden to create the continuous shapes of the letters. Light can travel up to a maximum of five metres along the connected elements.

Alphabet of Lights by BIG

Components are available in different sizes so the writing can be scaled to fit different different walls, ceilings or spaces.

Choi + Shine Architects also created lighting modules that assemble into three-dimensional arrangements using magnets, while Eindhoven studio OS & OOS used rubbery connectors to allow users to create sculptural installations from their modular lighting system.

The Alphabet of Lights was shown at the Artemide Monforte showroom during this year's Milan design week, which ran from 12 to 17 April 2016.

Alphabet of Lights by BIG
The Alphabet of Lights typeface designed by BIG

BIG's lights were among a series of architect-designed products in Milan. These included a shelving system designed by the late Zaha Hadid for Italian brand Citco and MAD's door handle based on its skyscrapers in Mississauga.

BIG founder Bjarke Ingels was recently named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2016, with a citation written by his former employer Rem Koolhaas. Earlier this year, BIG revealed its latest plans for Google's California campus, which has been designed with Heatherwick studio.