Regensburg-based artist illuminates glass sculptures with light-emitting diodes

MultiLED Meets Art

MULTILEDs can deliver bright light in all colors, as they contain red, green and blue chips. Therefore they give lighting designers a free hand when selecting colors, for example for automotive interior lighting. Now Peter Nowotny, an artist based in Regensburg, Germany, is using the tiny RGB light sources in several of his artworks and achieving impressive effects.

Nowotny is actually a painter. In his works, he reduces the visual aesthetics of the media world to the imagery of medieval icons. By means of abstraction, he succeeds in translating the figurative presence of his portraits into formal, ornamental structures. Wishing to add a third dimension to his motifs, he decided to transfer several paintings to a glass sculpture. “I break down the elements in my pictures into several planes and transfer these to layered panes of glass. When viewed from the front, the individual layers merge back into the original image,” Nowotny explains. The idea of going one step further and illuminating the colors to lend them a unique luminance was almost inevitable, and this is where the MULTILEDs from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors come into their own: they can be positioned at precise spots and controlled in terms of both color and intensity.

The glass sculpture shown here comprises four, vertically arranged glass plates 8 millimeters thick, and covers an area of about 385 square millimeters. The sculpture is 430 millimeters high. Three of the glass plates have a motif that was applied by means of subsurface laser engraving, while the fourth glass plate has a black motif. At the right distance, an observer sees a sculpture. The MULTILEDs illuminate the motifs, giving them an almost spatial quality. Twelve RGB LEDs arranged on a metal core circuit board light up each of the three, laser-engraved glass plates from below. Inside the glass plates, the light is conducted by total internal reflection. It is refracted at the engraved points such that it passes out of the glass plate and the motifs appear to glow. Thanks to the clever programming of the various LED colors, different color schemes and color changes can be generated, continually presenting the beholder with new and fascinating aspects.

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