There was a time when art and science were not subject to strict segregation.
Academic boundaries were blurred and the Renaissance man was revered for a
rounded education and broad range of attainments. Leon Battista Alberti, principal
initiator of this veneration of the polymath, managed to be an accomplished
architect, painter, classicist, poet, scientist, and mathematician. Leonardo da Vinci,
of course, could move from painting his Madonnas to devising the parachute and
the helicopter without apparently batting an eye.
Over the past two centuries we seem to have developed more of a bunker mentality.
It was probably the inevitability of discovering more, especially in the sciences,
where specialisms thrive and increase. The greater the complexity revealed, the more
we have had to drill down deeper into a discipline rather than ranging widely.
What is interesting is that in certain fields, especially architecture, we are coming
full circle and rediscovering those intersections, albeit in a contemporary context.
Rachel Wingfield and Jenny Sabin, who feature side by side in this issue, are
separately using digital technologies to create extraordinary biomimetic textile
structures. Using electroluminescence, photoluminescence and solar energy,
material and light become one.
Such experiments have extraordinary implications for architecture and architects.
Says Sabin, ‘one of the things that drives all of my work is the fact that with the
onset of digital technology, architects are being repositioned as makers again.’
Jill Entwistle, Editor
17 COMMENT LIGHTING MAGAZINE
VOLUME 49 • ISSUE 02 2017