A Project by Jenny sabin studiO
R&D and digital fabrication by Sabin Design Lab at Cornell University

MoMA PS1, New York City
On view from June 29 to September 4, 2017

By night, Lumen is knitted light, bathing visitors in a responsive glow of photo-luminescence; by day, Lumen offers succor from the summer heat, immersing participants in delicious ground clouds of cooling mist. Lumen is a socially and environmentally responsive structure that adapts to the densities of bodies, heat, and sunlight. A lightweight knitted fabric of responsive tubular structures and a canopy of cellular components employs recycled textiles, photo-luminescent and solar active yarns that absorb, collect, and deliver light. This environment offers spaces of respite, exchange, and engagement as a misting system responds to visitors’ proximity, activating fabric stalactites that produce a refreshing micro-climate. Families of robotically woven recycled spool chairs reveal informal messages and conversations through hydro-chromic materials. It is an open responsive system featuring digitally knitted and robotically woven lightweight, high-performing, formfitting, and adaptive materials. Lumen is a feminine form that offers luminous interiorities, informal networks, social fabrics, and fibrous assemblages that are pliable, transformative, and playful. 



Lumen is an experiment, taking risks through collaboration across disciplines. Held in tension within the PS1 courtyard matrix of walls, Lumen applies insights and theories from biology, materials science, mathematics, and engineering. Material responses to sunlight as well as physical participation are integral parts of our exploratory approach to new materials, embodiment, and a transformative, adaptive architecture. The project is mathematically generated through form-finding simulations informed by the sun, site, materials, program, and the structural morphology of knitted cellular components. Resisting a biomimetic approach, Lumen employs an analogic design process where complex material behavior and processes are integrated with personal engagement and diverse programs. Through direct references to the flexibility and sensitivity of the human body, Lumen integrates adaptive materials and architecture where code, pattern, human interaction, environment, geometry and matter operate together as a conceptual design space. Knitting and textile fabrication offer a fruitful material ground for exploring these nonstandard fibrous potentials. As with cell networks, materials find their own form where the flow of tension forces through both geometry and matter serve as active design parameters. Lumen undertakes rigorous interdisciplinary experimentation to produce a multisensory environment that is full of delight, inspiring collective levity, play, and interaction as the structure and materials transform throughout the day and night. 

Listen to a podcast with Jenny Sabin hosted by Archinect:

As published in:

New York Times - Lumen featured in "Daily 360" video
Architectural Digest 
Architect’s Newspaper - Lumen featured in first-look preview story
Architectural Record 
Fast Company  
Surface Magazine 
W Magazine 
Bedford + Bowery   
Arch Daily 
Architectural Lighting 
Cornell Chronicle
Untapped Cities 
DNA Info
Hype Beast   
Durability + Design 

Design Team

Principal and Lead Architectural Designer: Jenny E. Sabin
Project Lead and Manager: Dillon Pranger
Design and Production: Jordan Berta (Content Coordination), Diego Garcia Blanco, Elie Boutros, Daniel Villegas Cruz, Omar Dairi, Alejandro Garcia, Andres Gutierrez, Jingyang Liu Leo (senior research associate), Mark Lien, Jasmine Liu, Andrew Moorman, Christopher Morse, Bennett Norman, Marwan Omar, Sasson Rafailov, Steve Ren, David Rosenwasser, Danny Salamoun (production lead), Aishwarya Sreenivas, Raksarat Vorasucha

Engineering Design: Clayton Binkley & Kristen Strobel, Arup
Fabricators and Installers: Tom Carruthers, Bo Jacobsson, Erik Grinde, Spencer Whynaucht, Todd Fitcher, Ryan Fitcher, Shannon McElree, Mateo Baca, Jacobsson Carruthers, LLC
Knit Fabrication: Tom Shintaku, Shima Seiki WHOLEGARMENT
Lighting Design: Juan Pablo Lira and Hilary Manners, Focus Lighting
Sewing & Finishing: Wade Wesson & Christine Garcia, Dazian
Misting Systems: Sabin Design Lab & Mist Cooling Inc.
Rope Fabrication: Diamond Nets
Floor Installation: Art Domantay Artworks

Installation Volunteers: Mike Babcock, Luke Erickson, Laura-India Garinois Chia-Yi Hou, Rachel Kaplan, Wenli Li, Mark Lien, Irisa Llana, Lauren Lochry, Lucia Marquez, Elisa Medina, Chris Morse, Sophie Nichols, Yueer Niu, Chelsea Smith, Mat Sokol, Andrew Sullivan, Yifeng Wang, Linshen Xie, Stella Xu, Youngjin Yi

Video: Cole Skaggs
Photography: Pablo Enriquez, Yuriy Chernets


The 2017 Young Architects Program is made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Additional funding is provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Jeffrey and Michèle Klein, and Agnes Gund.

Further support provided by College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University

Special Thanks to Kent Kleinman, Sean Anderson, Mark Cruvellier, Matthias Hollwich, Andrea Simitch, Caroline O’Donnell, Peter Lloyd Jones, Sasa Zivkovic, Martin Miller, Frank Parish, Kurt Brosnan, Tyler Williams, Andre Hafner; the Jenny Sabin Studio and Sabin Design Lab teams; faculty and staff at College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University; the staff at MoMA and MoMA PS1; and Katherine Sender


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