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MoMA PS1 hosts Jenny Sabin’s robot-woven solar canopy

It also glows in the dark

robot-woven solar canopy All photos by Pablo Enriquez courtesy MoMA

MoMA’s Young Architects Program invites a new designer to transform their courtyard in Long Island City, Queens each summer, and Ithaca-based Jenny Sabin Studio has created the latest installation: a glowing, mist-spraying canopy that looks a bit like an alien spider den.

Robotically knitted out of recycled photo-luminescent textiles, the canopy’s million yards of thread collect solar energy and emit ethereal shades of blue, pink, and purple. While the effect is most striking at night, this luminescence is also visible during the daylight hours.

"With innovative construction and design processes borne from a critical merging of technology and nature to precise attention to detail at every scale, Lumen will no doubt engage visitors from day to night in a series of graduated environments and experiences," said MoMA associate curator Sean Anderson.

Soft tubes of fabric hang down from the canopy, providing tactile engagement. Enormous wooden spools have been recycled into stools that are grouped into seating areas. There are also integrated misters, to help visitors beat the heat.