Designer Daan Roosegaarde is making a name for himself as the creator of urban interventions that combine design with practicality. There were his bioluminescent tree streetlamps, the smog-eradicator he installed in a park in Beijing, his glow-in-the-dark road markings, and his Van Gogh-themed cycle path.
Now, the designer has created an installation to mark UNESCO’s Year of Light which taps into an improbable marriage of space technology and design. For a short amount of time every evening, one of the arches in Amsterdam’s Central train station does this:
It’s very pretty – but onlookers might not realise quite how impressive it really is. The installation makes use of “patterned liquid crystal optics”, a new light filtering technology which splits white light into a rainbow. This has been deceptively difficult in the past: other methods, such as prisms, weaken the colours or “leak” light, so the rainbow isn’t evenly dispersed or appears washed out.