Starlight

Reinterpreting and reimagining NASA data for London Design Festival

Fieldguide is a collective exploring the intersections between design, society and technology. In collaboration with the Swedish lighting manufacturer Wästberg they were approached to create a bespoke installation for London Design Festival, to be housed in the entrance of Imperial College London. They asked Uniform to work with them to design a compelling and engaging experience that communicated their research.

NASA gather and examine huge amounts of data to help them answer some of the greatest unsolved questions, such as whether there are other planets like Earth beyond the solar system. This question is at the heart of the installation that featured 12 brass Wästberg Lindvall w124s pendant lamps, suspended from a 6M high ceiling, each individually linked to data from NASA’s Kepler observatory.

The observatory was designed to look at the light from far off stars and interpret the flickering and pulsing to discover habitable, earth-like planets. StarLight used data from the observatory to transform the scale, brightness and timescales of these dimming stars, so humans could perceive them more easily. A bespoke mission control unit enabled people to interact with and control the lamps, replaying the light that originated from stars light-years away. Each time a lamp dimmed or flickered they were watching the evidence of a newly discovered planet’s existence.

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