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15 March 2019 Comments (0) Architecture, Culture, Other, Technology

Giant mirrors to chase away the shadows from cities

The Haberdashery design studio has imagined a new kind of urban fixture to make cities brighter. It has been given the name Helio Ray, and the installation uses the sun’s rays to light up the streets that are in the shade. In their opinion, it is a way to improve city dwellers’ well-being.

As the nights get longer, it is not always easy to get any sunlight. Particularly in large cities where more time is spent in public transport and high buildings cast their shadow over the town. Thankfully, there are solutions to dismiss the darkness from the streets.

The Haberdashery design studio, based in London (United Kingdom), has made light its speciality. With a team of 25 people, they combine engineering, research, industrial design and product design. For their latest project, Haberdashery has imagined a new kind of urban fixture. Christened ‘Helio Ray’ it makes it possible to light up buildings that never see the sun because of the skyscrapers and buildings opposite them.

Helio Ray uses two huge reflectors to direct the sun’s rays towards the shaded sides of the towers. Designed to be installed at the top of tall buildings, the mirror is mechanised to change the angle of inclination depending on the time of day. A new way to equip abandoned city rooftops.

  • Helio-ray © Haberdashery
  • Helio-ray © Haberdashery
  • Helio-ray © Haberdashery
  • Helio-ray © Haberdashery

Divine light

Comparing modern cities to the dry soils of a tropical forest, the London designers claim that the light bounced back by these reflectors is tinted with an effect described as ‘God’s ray’, due to the long, warm rays of light that seem to fall from the sky. Like rain.

Sunlight has a strong effect on our physiology and well-being’ explains Ben Rigby, Creative Director at Mercerie. ‘It influences our circadian rhythm, provides vitamin D and brightens up our environment bringing out the true colour of surfaces, architecture and urban texture.’ Haberdashery hopes that the installation will become a new distinctive feature of urban scenery. In the same way that cisterns, billboards, telephone antennas and neon lights have.

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