You might remember this wonderful innovation from Litracon® – translucent concrete – from its days as a prototype with small (paid) samples available to interested architects. Now, however, it has begun to be deployed in real-life buildings.

Small optical fibers transmit light from one end of each block to the other, effectively acting as aggregate alongside small stones and crushed glass.

Prefabricated into a single suspended panel, the individual blocks for this particular wall were rotated into place. The result is a semi-transparent facade that lets in limited light and shadow but also provides some privacy for this prominent street-front location during the day (as light trickles inside, and visual interest outside on the sidewalk at night (when the light primarily passes back out).

But this is just the beginning – from little table lamps with Litracon shades to pavers and sidewalk squares that transmit light down into (or up from) tunnels below your feet, well, the options are a bit mind boggling. For now, the delicate process required to create each unit is somewhat time- and cost-prohibitive, but as the technology evolves, anything could be possible.