Woven Night Skies are window coverings made of glow-in-the-dark yarn that mimic the Aurora Borealis.
Technology has allowed humans to produce and create works that were unfathomable just a century or two ago, but it can be argued that even with all of our successful feats, human creations cannot compete with natural wonders. One such naturally occurring marvel is the Aurora Borealis, a spectacular light display that occurs because of the collision between gas particles and the Earth’s atmosphere. Unfortunately, unless you visit northern Canada or Norway, there is little opportunity to view this phenomenon. While staying at the Fogo Island Inn artist residency program in Newfoundland, Dutch designer Chris Kabel came up with the idea of recreating the effect of the Aurora Borealis. His astonishing work brings to question whether technology is in fact capable of surpassing nature in creating spectacular wonders.
Kabel’s creation, called Woven Night Skies, is a set of paneled window coverings that were created for a conference room at the inn, which is close to the Arctic Circle. When a person cuts the lights to cue up a presentation or slideshow, the curtains begin to glow in a unique pattern that is reminiscent of the Northern Lights. Kabel invented a new weaving technique specifically for this project, which allows extremely fluent transitions between the color gradients in the fabric. The light pattern is digitally produced and works in collaboration with glow-in-the-dark yarn and the weaving technique to create the overall effect.
Woven Night Skies was created in partnership with TextielLab, an innovation studio that manufactures unique fabrics. For this project, the team helped Kabel create the yarn which absorbs light during the daytime or when overhead lights are on, which it disperses in the Aurora Borealis-like display once the lights go off.