Since the time of the birth of photography we have been enamored by light painting and have tried to capture light in a physical form. Troika‘s Thixotropes does just that, suspending lines of light mid-air and creating delicate sculptures out of seemingly nothing.

The luminaries are made up of angular and geometric thin bands of steel lined with LEDs, joined to an axel. The axels are connected to motors that spin the bands at high revolutions. The resulting streams of light create cones, spheres, and ribbons of light suspended in the air. The ephemeral nature of these pieces adds to their beauty. Why the tongue twisting name? The word “thixotropy” refers to the property of certain liquids that are usually thick, but become thin when agitated. Just like the structures are hard when still, the light they produce in motion becomes fluid, resembling a caterpillar spinning a cocoon in time-lapse video. The warm and cold light from each structure blend in subtle shades that we are unaccustomed to seeing produced by LED’s. One can’t help but think that these must be the “air chrysalises” that Murakami was trying to describe in “1Q84.” The Thixotropes series was designed for the Selfridges department store in London. The design has also made it onto the long list for the Design Museum‘s fifth annual Designs of the Year Award and can be seen at the Design Museum in London.

Thixotropes melds science and design in ways that the renaissance masters would have approved of.