Space, Light, Time and Architecture | The Plan
  1. Home
  2. Magazine 2006
  3. The Plan 016
  4. Space, Light, Time and Architecture

Space, Light, Time and Architecture

Space, Light, Time and Architecture
By Stefano Casciani -

There must be a reason why scientists from many disciplines, when faced with the problem of trying to determine an abstract concept like time, set aside terrestrial gravitation, lunar phases, quartz crystal vibrations or other complicated precision calculations, and opt for the extraordinary indeterminacy light, whose secrets are still largely unfathomed. Of all the most recent, exacting units of time, the most dazzling - and most relevant to our concerns as designers - would seem to be the phemtosecond - a millionth of a billionth of a second. It takes, for example two hundred of these time units, if you can call them thus, for light to react with the retina’s pigments and allow us to see, and so, interpret the world. Without light, the world would not of course exist, or rather, would exist as a blind person conceives it, as an intellectual concept. Which for designers, is the worst, most danger-fraught way of approaching existence, and responsible for the poor expressive quality of contemporary design that leans too heavily on superannuated intellectual precepts.
How much of the magic of natural light can be captured when designing artificial light for interiors? Little or nothing. The major concern of most architects (and designers) today is to build monuments to themselves with objects, interiors or buildings. Their major preoccupation is that the form of a lamp or building conform to their signature style. They are not attempting to fathom the marvel of light but determine its container. Which is like saying that a beautiful saucepan will produce exquisite food.
Similarly, even an expert, experienced architect like Zaha Hadid confines herself to containing light in the tangle of plastic forms that makes up her luminous sculpture Vortexx, designed for her retrospective show at New York’s Guggenheim. The result is doubtless aesthetically impeccable. The question that lurks in the back of the mind though, is what the underlying reason for such a...

Proceed with your preferred purchase option to continue reading
Digital

Digital

5.49 €
Printed

Printed

Sold out
Subscription

Subscription

From 42.00 €
Choose subscription
Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054
ITC Avant Garde Gothic® is a trademark of Monotype ITC Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and which may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.