Natural light entrance faked with LEDs

We can wish all we want for more windows, but some side-by-side building sites make it impossible to let natural light in on all sides. One designer has a strange solution: a shockingly realistic panel of 6000+ hidden LED lights that fit right into the wall and create the illusion of window-generated illumination in otherwise dark entry and stairwell spaces.

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Natural Daylight Entrance with LED panel

Our brains instantly recognize the distorted rectangles created by daylight passing through a rectilinear opening to the outdoors – a sure sign of direct exposure to the sun. Combined with this cognitive trickery, the soft and diffuse nature of this light (combined with it being set flush against the wall with subtle secrecy) reinforces our initial impression that this is indeed sunlight.

Natural Daylight Entrance light panels

This award-nominated design by Daniel Rybakken is one of an ongoing series of simple furnishings that range from practical and conceptual, artistic to architectural, and deal in different ways with mirror imagery, illusion, color, reflection, natural light and artificial lighting in small installation experiments and large residential spaces.

Natural Daylight Entrance designer

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“My intention with this project was to take elements of my work and theories concerning daylight and incorporate them directly into architecture,” Rybakken says. “The installation is located in the entrance of an office building in central Stockholm (Vasagatan 7). As both the entrance and the staircase have no natural light, it was important for me to replicate the positive sensation of sunlight. The technical principles behind the project are based on my previous lamp, Surface Daylight. Walls are covered with a solid surface material; CNC-milling hollows areas before backlighting by LED. The installation consists of over 6,000 LEDs and continues across three stories.”

Fake daylight panel

Surface Daylight “is a continuation of the thoughts and ideas behind Subconscious Effect of Daylight and Daylight Comes Sideways, and has served as a proof-of-concept for Daylight Entrance, Stockholm. Instead of projection, the light-source is now placed within the material itself; LED lamps mounted beneath the surface.”