The fragility of efficiency: Tensegrity lights by Michal Maciej Bartosik

The fragility of efficiency: Tensegrity lights by Michal Maciej Bartosik

The fragility of efficiency: Tensegrity lights by Michal Maciej Bartosik

A few years ago, I came across a photo of a lighting system designed by Michal Maciej Bartosik, although I didn’t know it at the time because the photo was uncredited. “Who did this?” I didn’t figure it out then, but the smart use of fluorescent tubes as structural components in a glowing dome stuck with me. Years later, I’m happy to have figured out who made it, and just how talented he is. Michal Maciej Bartosik studied architecture (and now lives) in Canada. A newer light sculpture/structure of his employs a structural principle popularized by Buckminster Fuller: Tensegrity.

Tensegrity has always made me a little nervous. It’s a very efficient way to hold something up, but there’s no redundancy: every member of the structure is critical to keep the structure standing. If a single cable snaps, it can cause the whole structure to collapse. So while I think these light sculptures are amazing, I have a hard time figuring out what happens when one of the tubes burns out.

Alex Dent

January 30, 2012 / By

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