The perfect glass bubble – how can this be?
The German product designer Sebastian Scherer, founder of Neo/Craft, was inspired by seeing children blowing bubbles.
He asked himself why the bubbles are so enchanting? Could he capture their fleeting, shimmering, fragile lightness in an object?
Three years later, he produced Iris. This is Iris…
…and here is a picture of some real soap bubbles:
We know glass, so we know how many other people have tried to do this. How has Sebastian succeeded? We see three key elements.
The first is the extreme simplicity of the design:
An object that looks just right, to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away, is (God knows – Ecclesiastes 3:14!) very difficult to do. Besides the hollow bubble of delicate glass, there is just a very clean, simple metal structure that does not interfere with the overall shape and effect. This elegance is enhanced by the use of an OLED as the light source: it is just a smooth, flat sheet.
The second element is the iridescence. This is provided by a dichroic coating that, before Iris, was only possible on flat or slightly curved surfaces. It took nearly two years of research and experimentation to find a way to coat a sphere.
Besides making Iris more soap bubble-like, the iridescence also means that the appearance of Iris is constantly changing…
…partly because of the play of light in the iridescence, and partly because it creates a mirror effect, so that Iris reflects what is around her.
It also ensures that she looks just as good when she is turned off:
The third element is the unusual choice of light source, an OLED, because of the soft, unfocused light they emit (as well as their shape). And it’s dimmable!
Iris comes in three sizes, Ø30cm, Ø40cm and Ø50cm…
The success of Iris is demonstrated by the number of awards that she has garnered: