Lamp: Hexagonal Close Packing

Lamp: Hexagonal Close-Packing, 2007. Silver-plated gilding metal, high-power LED, electrical components. Diameter 150mm. Photo Johannes Kuhnen.

This portable, wireless lamp was created for the research project 'Search for a Universal Aesthetic' in the Australian National University School of Art Gold and Silversmithing Workshop. The sphere was hammered from sheet gilding metal (a copper alloy containing 95% copper and 5% zinc), the patterns were drilled and the pieces silver plated. The lamp contains high-power LEDs which are powered by a rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery, charged via a socket in the base of the sphere.  The pattern on the sphere is based on the natural phenomenon of hexagonal close-packing.  This is most commonly seen in the structure of honeycomb, where its construction is usually perfect.  Perfect hexagonal close packing is mathematically impossible on a sphere, and must be interspersed with seven- and five-sided polygons in order for the pattern to cover the sphere.  This structure can be found on some microscopic organisms such as radiolaria.

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© Christina Clarke 2018