sunlight delivery

Project Manager, KVA matX & 3M Architectural Markets

The cloud canopy resulted from an 8-week collaboration between KVA matX and 3M Architectural markets.  3M’s ‘daylight delivery system’ (under development) is an indoor lighting product that uses concentrated solar trackering to channel sunlight down into a network of highly-reflective ducts, lined with 3M-reflective film capable of transferring daylight up to 80 meters.  Rather than force the conventional appearance of a recessed electric light fixture, we wanted to value daylight for its unique qualities and advantages.  Inspired by natural elements, we introduced a parametric twist reminiscent of a vine or tree branch, which allowed us to distribute a soft, continuous luminescent effect.  We bifurcated the ducts to create concentrated pockets of daylight in which we could suspend diffusers.  As clouds obscure and diffuse sunlight through a layered film of water, our cloud canopy was designed to diffuse daylight through a series of perforated films.  Using computation to derive a self-structuring form, we fabricated a series of petals that could snap together on site.

We assembled our full-scale prototype (twisted ducts + diffuser) on site in 3M’s research facility, resulting in a truly unique lighting experience.  As clouds moved overhead, temporarily reducing the light output from the solar collector, our cloud canopy would dim and brighten, creating a natural-feeling, visually-engaging, and 100% electricity-free lighting source.

design team:  Phil Seaton, Diana Tomova, and Sheila Kennedy

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