Designing the 8 Planets

I have begun working on a revised final light designs for exhibition and have made some of the following design decisions-

  • To use the form of Neptune and Uranus (curve attractor definition in Grasshopper) as the basis for all the planetary forms. I particularly liked these outcomes due to the way they caught the light on each side of the form, with the curves creating folds and undulations across either side of the surface. I also really liked the way they naturally lent themselves to wall lighting with the forms tilting upwards providing up-lighting or down-lighting.


  • To get these forms the same Grasshopper algorithm with be used so comparisons can be made between each form as the characteristics alter each planetary form. I felt that the forms at the end of last term, whilst satisfying, there looked a bit jumbled together, all being different, and one might think it was an exercise in parametric design variation taking one away from the actual concept. By having pieces with similar form, the work will become more of a collection as whole.


  • I have decided to not include Pluto or the Moon in the collection due to the fact that they are not technically planets, leaving me with a collection of 8 planetary wall lights.
  • In addition to the 8 wall lights, there will be the Sun; a separate, individual entity as it is a star and is the source of life and light on earth. It will be the only piece which actually emits light from within and radiates it outwards through glass, with the form the same as last term, as I felt it was a successful and strong outcome both conceptually and physically.
  • I wound like to try and make the glass Sun into a hanging pendant light, to further separate it from the other planets and create a strong visual impact. This will require further development work.


  • The materials of each piece will once again be defined by the planets respective bond albedo. The material of each piece should have a similar albedo to that of the planet.
  • Ideally each planet would be scaled to its actual size. However, the scale of the giant planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is so much bigger than the others this may not be feasible. So a design compromised will be made where they will either be scaled proportionally showing which is the biggest and which is the smallest, but the scale is not accurate or they will be all the same size. The latter could be nice allowing one to focus on the form of each planet with no potential bias related to size. The base size of the lights will be defined by research into other wall lights on the market.1

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