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This Moving Light Fixture Mimics a Blooming Flower

Its actions parallel the process of “nyctinasty.”

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has on permanent display a light fixture that mimics a blooming plant. The installation, called Shylight, was designed in collaboration with artists and scientists in order to capture the process of nyctinasty—a circadian reaction to darkness that certain species of flowers (such as tulips and poppies) experience. When night falls, these flowers close their petals. Sunrise triggers them to reopen.

Made of silk, the Shylight flows toward the ground in a series of movements that parallels those of nyctinastic flowers in the morning. At its apex, the Shylight opens up to reveal the light inside of it. Then it retreats back into itself and buries the light, signaling the onset of evening.

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