Simulating the sky is “a prestige game”, Di Trapani says. “You have to manage it very precisely or it doesn’t work.” The task is to do just enough to trick the brain into believing the skylight is real.
Cabinet magazine, Issue 55, Fall 2014, p.40
In Artefact 2016, Prof. Paolo Di Trapani and Coelux present a spatial installation that recreates the sky and sunlight in a room-like setting alluding to a natural skylight. The installation combines a warm-directional component representing the sun with a system responsible for a bluish-diffusion, creating the perception of infinite depth in the space above. Consciously aware of the fact that this is impossible – the box is placed in the middle of a closed room – the visitor is challenged to combine experience with knowledge: that which is felt with that which is known. Aside from the obvious commercial goals for this Coelux product, Di Trapani aims to heighten appreciation for the natural, that which goes beyond understanding and recreation: ‘(…) the intention is not to make a deceptive, Truman Show-style replica of nature, but something more akin to theatre or a work of art: a consensual illusion that deepens our appreciation and understanding of the real thing’ he remarks in an interview with Cabinet Magazine. Di Trapani thus inscribes himself in a history of attempting to artificially recreate daylight: from incandescent electrical light to the fluorescent tube light, LED, and the sky, and from the fresco painters of the Renaissance to artist Karen Kristin’s trompe l’oeil. As indeed, this is what Di Trapani learned: ‘to believe in artificial daylight, you must believe it comes from the sky.’
Paolo Di Trapani (IT)
Paolo Di Trapani is a physicist, a Professor of Optics at Insubria University in Como, Italy and the President/CEO of CoeLux srl. In addition to academic activities, in 2001 Di Trapani created Di Luce In Luce, a wide-audience-oriented theatrical performance, which proposed an indoor, physical reconstruction of spectacular optical atmospheric phenomena. As a follow up, Di Trapani developed CoeLux®, a technology that artificially reproduces the sky and sun, virtually undistinguishable from reality. CoeLux® won, among others, the LuxAward 2014 as ‘the light source innovation of the year’ and the WEF ‘Technology Pioneers 2015’.