Co.Design

Starchitect And Rocket-Scientist Son Create Lamp That Evokes History Of The Universe

Daniel Libeskind partners with his son Noam, an astrophysicist, to capture the history of light in a 14-second loop of twinkling LEDs.

Famous architects design furniture all the time. Less common? Famous architects who design furniture with their rocket-scientist kid.

That’s what Daniel Libeskind, the starchitect behind the lovely Military History Museum in Dresden and the (less lovely) Denver Art Museum, has done with his son Noam, an astrophysicist at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam in Germany. Commissioned by the high-end lighting company Zumtobel, the father-son pair concocted a slender, faceted chandelier that "mimics and reproduces the cosmic light that fills the Universe."

The chandelier is called eL Masterpiece, and to make it, Noam Libeskind developed an algorithm that expresses the 14-billion-year history of the cosmos in a 14-second loop. The loop was then transferred onto nearly 1,700 LEDs, each representative of a little chunk of outer space. As the seconds pass, the LEDs twinkle in various colors and sequences that visualize how stars’ light has changed over billions of years. "[E]ssentially we’re trying to tell the history of light," Noam Libeskind says. "How light in the universe evolved, how it was created, how it is absorbed and re-emitted and how, over 14 billion years, the light in the entire universe was changing and was in turn affecting the evolution of the universe."

EL Masterpiece stands nearly 9 feet tall, weighs a whopping 350 pounds, and has a polished steel exterior and a 23-karat gold finish inside. The lighting can be controlled wirelessly via an iPad. Price is available on request.

[Images courtesy of Zumtobel; hat tip to The Architect’s Newspaper]

Add New Comment

13 Comments

  • graphik

    It seems more of an art installation than a light fixture. It's assertive and intriguing--definitely not for everyone. I would love to have seen the design brief for this one.

  • Hasbro Tyne

    The best lighting design illuminates and amplifies the architecture of the room without drawing undue attention the the light source.  Not so for Daniel Libeskind whose ego-tripping exercise in excess and waste now creates a gaudy and overblown monstrosity, so awkward and impractical it will overwhelm any space unfortunate enough to receive it.  -  I want my lighting to be subtle and refined, not the manifestation of one man's misguided sense of his own "genius". 

  • Benjamin Eugene NElson

    I love how you guys assume that it's all BS just by his name.. I rather though teh concept and execution was an interesting idea. 

  • Benjamin Eugene NElson

    @DBN>Thank you for pointing out my mistakes.

    Your snobbish attitude over two simple typos only proves my point greatly.

    *tips his hat*

  • DBN

    Please learn to spell and punctuate a sentence before you criticize other people.

  • Mr. Boyard

    It's inelegant, over-wrought, clumsy and utterly pretentious.  Maybe the "rocket scientist" son should look to serious lighting designers for inspiration rather than collaborating with the washed-up hack who was kicked off from the Freedom Tower project.

  • K.T. Salinger

    Daniel Libeskind never let his complete lack of talent stop him from pretending he is an architect.  Why should his approach to lighting fixtures be any different? In the end, it's just another medium for him to loudly proclaim his ignorance of aesthetics to a new audience.

  • Hadiya

    How typically presumptious of Libeskind to think he knows or understands the way light evolved over 14 billion years, or that his dumbed-down 14-second light show and garishly oversized piece of twisted metal could do justice to such an incredible natural phenomenon.  As usual, the jerk needs to embellish his latest moronic concept with some pretentious claptrap and a few cheap soundbites.  

  • Sergesaade

    daniel libeskind is one of the most astonishing architects and as shown designers that have lived upon us and it is an honour for all of us to be present among these creations of his.... he has and always will be my inspiration in this feild.

  • Spaceman

    The two uncomfortable and stupid looking chairs are also of Libeskind's design.  At this stage, the name 'Libeskind' is justifiably synonymous with ugliness and tastelessness.

  • DRTJameson2

    Another visual monstrosity from "America's First Family of Gross".  It seems these people are strangely willing to make public display of their lack of tase and lack of class in several fields.

  • Heracles Papatheodorou

    Wealthy people need something to spend their "hard-earned" money on. Starchitects complete the cycle by producing what the first require, but they should at least have the decency to be honest and not name it art or science.
    The very phrase “mimics and reproduces the cosmic light that fills the Universe” is a blasphemy towards both science and logic.

  • Dru Schwyhart

    Hmm.  It appears Noam is a chip off the old block--creating overtly aggressive forms based on highly pretentious concepts, ending up with a product that is ultimately unusable and impractical, not to mention garish and tasteless.