Fabrica: Patch of Sky 22.07.14

  • Left to right: Tefnut, Amun, Set

  • Amun

  • Set

  • Tefnut

The Italian research centre brings a touch of sentimentality to the rising tide of “smart” products with Patch of Sky – a set of connected lamps that show a travelling loved one what the weather is like back at home

"Weather is one of those things you always ask a faraway relative about on the phone," says product designer Giorgia Zanellato, who developed Patch of Sky with a team of five other researchers from Italian communications research centre Fabrica – Leonardo Amico, Federico Floriani, Reda Jouari, Alice Longo and Akshataa Vishwanath. "These lamps bring people closer by providing a visual display of weather information – not in an overtly technical way, but in a way that's more poetic and subtle."

The lamps are connected to the internet via BERGCloud, which supplies specific location and weather information. An LED strip within the lamp is programmed with 11 animations that correspond to different weather conditions – the strips change patterns and colours through the RGB spectrum – a whiteish-blue blinking reflects thundery downpours, for example.

Two wall-mounted versions and a desk lamp are characterised by their basic geometric forms: a circle or semi-circle of mirror balanced by a speckled rectangular bar that contains the strip and electronics. Each is named for an ancient Egyptian weather deity – Amun, the god of wind; Set, the god of storms; and Tefnut, the goddess of rain.

The project explores the potential of data to imbue a product with meaning and aesthetic; to find a human dimension in the swamp of information that's now available to us online – and increasingly – through the objects we have in our home. Although the idea for the lamps came from research about the potential of BERGCloud for product design, Zanellato says there has been enough interest in Patch of Sky for it to become a realised product in the future.

Watch a video about Patch of Sky



Riya Patel


Images: Shek Po Kwan

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The project explores the potential of data to imbue a product with meaning and aesthetic

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