Embedded LEDs Turn Salt Crystals Into Interactive Art

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.

Studio Roosegaarde, crystals, LEDs, art

Image via Studio Roosegaarde

The new installation located at NatLab—a historical place in Eindhoven, Netherlands where Albert Einstein used to do research and Philips invented the CD, according to this review.

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.”


Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

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