This umbrella-shaped street lamp by London designer Samuel Wilkinson has a crystal-covered canopy and allows passersby to leave augmented messages for their pals (+ slideshow).

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

Put in on a corner of Old Street in London, the four.five-metre-tall Ommatidium sculpture features one,500 faceted crystal lenses and is named after the personal elements that make up the compound eyes of several insects.

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

The framework has a matt black central steel rod, which tapers to a level, and holds a circular 3.two-metre-broad canopy that homes the hand-minimize prisms in a metal grid.

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

Passersby can look up by way of the overhanging canopy to see a kaleidoscopic view of the sky over. The sculpture has been positioned to acquire maximum sunlight, and casts refracted rainbows onto the street and men and women that stand beneath.


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At night the lamp gets a “gleaming beacon” with LEDs used to light up the canopy.

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

“This installation was never about developing a loud provocative object,” said Wilkinson, who also created the award-winning Plumen 001 lightbulb.

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

“It was a lot more to produce something that fitted with the vernacular of street furniture. The challenge was to create the proper experience, an intriguing intervention, something with multiple layers that could react to the setting.”

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

Ommatidium also characteristics a digital element, functioning with the Traces augmented messaging app by San Francisco company Ripple Inc. The app permits passersby to retrieve place-distinct details this kind of as maps, neighborhood stories and discounts for close by shops and eating places on their smartphone.


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These get the type of photos, video clips and sounds that are overlaid onto a smartphone’s camera show. Customers can also depart messages for their pals to pick up on their phones when they visit the sculpture.

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

“By bringing with each other neuroscience and design, the Ommatidium and Traces facilitate the inherent imaginative nature of the brain by enabling folks residing, visiting and functioning in a single of the most inventive areas on the planet to gift their way of becoming and seeing to other folks – to augment our planet with digital, rather than attempting to substitute it,” mentioned Ripple CEO Beau Lotto, who worked with Wilkinson on the venture.

Ommatidium sculpture by Sam Wilkinson

Ommatidium was put in for London Design and style Festival 2015, but remained in place soon after the event concluded in September.

Wilkinson’s other patterns contain a view, a series of rotating lamps, and a set of faceted stationery.

Photography is by Sylvain Deleu.


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Dezeen filmed this interview with the crew behind the Plumen 001 light bulb, winner of this year’s Brit Insurance Style of the Yr Award, throughout the ceremony at the Design Museum in London on Tuesday. Greater version + story »

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