Light objects for Art School Library, making


This post describes some technical and making aspects of the Light objects for the ANU School of Art library. You can read more about the design aspects here.

reading pit at ANU School of Art

During the making of these lights a mix of manual and digital fabrication processes have been used.  Brass and aluminium pieces have been laser cut while the translucent red elements had been rapid prototyped by ‘Rapid Pro‘ in Victoria, Australia.

The black curved arms are five 2.5mm layers aluminium, riveted together to create an inside channel concealing the cables up to the brass cylinder. They have been laser cut locally in Canberra by Acuform.  The cylinder forms a central hub from which four conical carbon fiber tubes stretch out and support two light heads on each lamp. The lights have a wingspan of 1.4 meter.

right of two light objects

Each light head has six one-watt LEDs. The LEDs are mounted on a decorative brass cooling plate (cut by Ponoko) and are cooled by a fan. The following parts had been used: LED ring with six one watt LED (LSP6-WW-XXX) and Controller/Driver (MDU9-SC-3570) from Future Electronics. All elements are enclosed by ABS housings. These housings are rapid-prototyped using translucent red FDM material from ‘Stratasys’.

Three views of the light head

Views of light head

The curved aluminium arm extent from the main brass fitting which is strapped onto the existing column with an aluminium strip. This strip has custom brass connectors to adjust the tension of the strapping.

Main bracket and centre bracket

The electronics – led drivers and fan power supplies – are placed inside the void between the column and the main brass fitting. The 12 volt fans are driven by 6 volt power-supplies letting them run without developing noise. Before the installation the lights had been tested for several days.

4 Responses to “Light objects for Art School Library, making”


  1. 1 leelee 10/06/2010 at 6:59 AM

    Cutting, Forming, Fusing and Finishing is the name of the game when it comes to working with light metals and other components. The designs look gorgeous and seem far beyond anything that I have attempted myself. Art truly is in the eye of the beholder. I love the fact that you have taken the art of fabrication and broken down the steps needed for creation. This art on a grand scale. It’s a scale so huge that the work is kind of sent out to various processors to complete their part of the a href=”http://www.artfortune.com”>art project . Fabrication is the conglomerate of many talents. I work as one artist on a single piece and this makes the process of one creation all mine. Art is so many things to the creator of that art. It is the dream that comes to life and paint and imagination make it come to fruition. Art is art, whether fabricated or not. Thanks for the look at something new.

    • 2 virtualterritory 10/06/2010 at 10:39 PM

      Dear Leelee,

      thank you for your engaging comment. I like to add that even if there are a number of digital fabricators involved in making parts for a work, the work can still be the creation of one artist, if he/she is able to ‘craft’ the digital file(s) that directs the technology. This contributes to the shift from traditional craft practitioner to designer-maker. To acquire these skills is equally a challenge for the individual as it is for visual arts education.
      An interesting thought is that through the application of digital based fabrication the designer- maker is assisted in ‘manufacturing’ multiples, while on the other side an industrial designer is assisted in making a ‘one-off’.
      Thanks again for your comment.


  1. 1 Light objects for Art School Library, design « virtualterritory Trackback on 21/05/2010 at 10:56 PM
  2. 2 Light objects for Art School Library, design | Off Topic Design Trackback on 18/06/2010 at 6:08 PM

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