The Lucid Stead project celebrates light in all its subtle, shifting, dazzling, reflecting, refracting, blinding glory. We reveal its beauty in the first of a series looking at the decade’s most innovative new art and design concepts.
First Impressions Count
Puzzlement is probably the first impression created by Phillip K. Smith III’s Lucid Stead concept. It appears to be some kind of shack, but it can’t be, surely. Is it floating?
Master of Illusion
The imaginative use of mirrored panels between successive bands of timber helps break up the structure of the building with alternate layers of the shack apparently floating on thin air.
Old Meets New
The building – an original homesteader shack in Joshua Tree, California – is estimated to be over 70 years old. The repurposed structure has now been given new life through the project.
Ways of Seeing
The interaction of light on the mirrored panels lends the building a constantly changing canvas, reflecting the surrounding environment. At times it even seems surreal: Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath meets Blade Runner.
Reflecting the Environment
Lucid Stead’s true nature is revealed as each day progresses, exactly reflecting the changing hues of light and atmosphere at different times of the day.
Loving the Alien
The slightly alien nature of the design – at first glance isolated from the surrounding desert – is actually anything but. It is, quite literally, a mirror to the environment around it.
Moment of Illumination
The already bold vision of Lucid Stead acquires an even more audacious element as night starts to fall. The mirrored panels are still apparent, but so, too, are other illuminations.
In Living Colour
The effect of the mirrored strips fades away as night closes in, and in their place vibrant blocks of illuminated colour emerge. Defiantly modern and artificial, the effect is startling.
Fade to Black
The surreal blocks suspended in vivid neon colours stand out at night, as do subtle strips of white LED lights along the edges of all the wood and mirror panels.
The Bare Bones
The white LED strips mimic the effect of the mirrored panels during the day, but also lay the shack bare as if the skeleton of the building were being revealed.
The geometric blocks of colour echo the colours of renowned light artists such as James Turrell. Like Turrell, Phillip K. Smith’s work ensures a heightened awareness of the surrounding environment.
The Star Act
As night gradually becomes day, the illuminated panels return to their normal state and the only sources of light are the stars and the moon, offering yet another reflection of nature.
The pattern is repeated as the day dawns once again. The project has now been concluded and art fans await Phillip K. Smith’s next visionary undertaking. The question remains, though: was it even real? Was it a mirage? Maybe it was all just a trick of the light…
Article by James Lee-Tullis
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