Project Description

Highlight Delft 2023 | Space of Possibilities

From February 16-18, 2023, Highlight Delft presented its annual Innovative art & technology route. An exceptional glance of the future was created by innovative makers selected by Highlight Delft. Two walking routes, one in the city center of Delft and one at TU Delft Campus were set up for a duration of three nights only. Experiential designs, wonder and wander, you don’t have to fully understand everything in detail to enjoy the appealing installations showing the inspiring fusion of art and technology. For the event, a temporary facet lens demonstrator was built in cooperation with Jólan van der Wiel and caustic designer Chris Kievid under the scope of the ‘Shaping Sunlight’ concept. The demo aimed to inspire the audience, stimulate the senses and nerves and motivated to explore the use of 3D-printed specialty lenses in an aesthetical yet functional way.


The Project: Scope and Challenge

The ‘Shaping Sunlight’ project, under which scope the Highlight Demonstrator has been built, aims to transform the indoor built environment into a more sustainable, natural ambiance. Using specialty custom optics that are well-aligned with the solar cycle, daylight entering the building can be carefully collected and more efficiently distributed. These approaches open up a whole new design space for designing with natural daylight. The primary aim is not only to control sunlight in a better way and improve the field of labor but it also can be used, at the same time, as a creative design element in architectural designs to improve the overall atmosphere in indoor environments.

The Study

For the ‘Highlight Delft 2023’ event, the skills of caustic designer Chris Kievid were hired to generate tailor-made software for the design of the required geometrical parameters. The generated digital simulations (“ray traces”) and physical 3D printed optics prototypes demonstrate the capabilities of morphing light into nearly any functional or aesthetical end result. It has been confirmed that physical realizations of light-guiding custom optics are indeed a valid reality.

For optimal impression, a well-recognized pattern of ‘Play Buttons’ was chosen. Here is a graphical animation including the intended ray tracing:



From Design to Fabrication

At the same time, the project contributed to the further increase of the software aiming to bridge the gap from design and simulation to the final additive manufacturing process. Over the past months, impressive progress has been made in making Facet Lens Technology available to a wider audience, ultimately ending up in commercial atmospheres.

The Solution

The initial prototypes have been developed in close cooperation with Luximprint utilizing the latest additive manufacturing technology for the 3D printing of optical lenses to customer specifications. At the same time, the possibilities for a large-scale application in architectural applications have been considered by exploring inventive Facet Lens Technology.

Having access to the possibility of manipulating sunlight in a targeted way, the possibilities for architectural design and functionality became near to endless. The explanation movie below clearly shows the lens segmentation, each of the sections projecting its desired light shape.

More images of the demo-lenses and facet lenses in general can be viewed in the Printed Optics Gallery.


Unique Benefits

A blend of natural daylight and advanced optical 3D printing technology leads to several unique benefits for all parties involved:

Enabling Design Software: Custom design software enables the generation of complex geometrical textures and lenses;
Tailored Light Distribution: Disruptive design approaches exactly put ‘Light-where-Needed‘.

One-off Fabrication: the production of single custom lens items (“one-offs”) thanks to the zero minimum order quantities (MOQ = 1);
Iterative Design Processing: Rapid Iterations matching the quick pace of design optimizations, including real-life testing;
Rapid Manufacture: having custom lenses produced in a matter of days is – to this day – truly remarkable;

Product Innovation: Exploring new horizons and application fields by combining various fields of the profession (design-making-architecture)



About Highlight Delft 2023

Highlight Delft started back in 2017 in Delft as a technology & light art route. From 2018 Highlight Delft shows innovative ideas of the future created by artists, designers, researchers and companies, on display at unique locations.

Visitors are able to get an exceptional glance of the future created by innovative makers selected by Highlight Delft. There are two walking routes, one in Delft City Centre and one at TU Delft Campus. The experimental installations show and inspiring fusion of art and technology.

More info on the event and exhibits is available at the Highlight Delft 2023 event website.