Cathedral of light by Troika

If ever there were a cathedral of light, this is it: a beautiful series of glowing arches that you can’t capture with your hand. London design studio Troika created the ‘Arcades’ installation in a brick-walled former stable at the Interieur design biennale in Belgium using a surprisingly simple setup of bulbs and lenses.

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Cathedral of light by Troika illusion
Cathedral of light by Troika bulbs and lenses

Fourteen concentrated beams of light stream up from the ground. When they hit the Fresnel lenses – which are simply compact sheets of plastic or glass which are able to capture oblique light – they angle inward. The lenses refract the light beams in such a way that they appear to curve.

Cathedral of light by Troika fresnel lens

The way in which the installation is arranged makes it seem as if the light creates a physical space, contained within the arches. Visitors can walk into the ‘cathedral’ and feel sheltered without being enclosed.

“The arcade of light lies between the intangible and physical, the visible and the seemingly impossible,” the designers explained. “It asks the viewer to pause and contemplate the surrounding space whilst promoting openness rather than closure.”

Cathedral of light by Troika installation

About Troika

Troika is a collaborative contemporary art group formed by Eva Rucki (b. 1976, Germany), Conny Freyer (b. 1976, Germany) and Sebastien Noel (b. 1977, France) in 2003. With a particular interest in the subjective and objective readings of reality and the various relationships we form with technology, they investigate the ways in which the digital world informs and crosses over into the physical one and how technological advancement influences our relationship with the world and with each other.”

“Troika’s work is part of the permanent collections of M+, Hong Kong, the Victoria & Albert Museum London, The Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA New York, Jumex Collection Mexico, the Israel Museum and Centre Georges Pompidou. In 2019 Troika started a research project together with biologists, neuroscientists, the British Antarctic Survey and physicists from Cambridge University which will culminate in a book and a permanent outdoor installation at Cambridge University in 2023.”