Opening at MoMA PS1 on June 27, 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:
Architect's Newspaper
Architectural Record
Cornell Chronicle
Contract Design


Lumen for MoMA PS1 YAP 2017
A project by Jenny Sabin Studio

R&D by Sabin Design Lab, Cornell University
Jenny E. Sabin, Principal and Lead Architectural Designer

Design Team
Project lead and manager: Dillon Pranger
Design & Representation: Jingyang Liu Leo, Diego Garcia Blanco, Mark Lien
Robotic Fabrication: Andrew Moorman and Andres Gutierrez
Virtual Reality: Christopher Morse
Content Coordination: Jordan Berta
Model Assistance: Jasmine Liu
Video: Cole Skaggs
Fabricators and Installers: Jacobsson Carruthers, LLC
Engineering Design: Clayton Binkley, Arup
Lighting Design: Jeffrey Nash
Knit Fabrication: Shima Seiki WHOLEGARMENT
Misting Systems: Mist Cooling Inc. with special thanks to Larry Geohring