Humans have always been fascinated by things that glow. I can only imagine how crazy the Northern Lights or bioluminescent firefly must have appeared to our ancestors. Even though we understand the scientific mechanisms behind phosphorescence and bio-luminescence, there’s still something irresistible about something lit up from within.
Glowing lights draw in humans like moths to a flame…a quality Studio Roosegaarde capitalized on in its latest installation, called Crystal. Using hundreds of LEDs embedded into simple salt crystal rocks, the designers encourage people to gather together in dimly lit streets, creating beautiful art that’s also a social activity.
To make these energy-efficient talismans, artist Daan Roosegaarde allowed salt crystals to grow up and around an LED. The diode is specially designed to illuminate and flicker when touched by a human hand. The artist calls them “The new LEGO from Mars” and suggests that people use them to write letters or icons to share emotions in a very public way. But what happens if someone decides to put a Crystal in their pocket and take it home? The artist sees no problem “You can share or steal them,” Roosegaarde says. “I see both actions as a compliment. The Crystals can be worn as high-tech jewelry or used as entrance-cards. Some cities even want chips installed to turn Crystal into a special public transport ticket.”