Wormhole Lamp

Will Gibbons by Will Gibbons | Last Updated:   March 26, 2020

Wormhole

An Einstein-Rosen Bridge is a speculative structure linking disparate points in spacetime and is often referred to as a wormhole. This lamp is a nod to some of my favorite sci-fi films, many of which prominently feature wormholes.

Purpose

This lamp is meant to provoke deep, meditative thought. In a group setting, it sparks meaningful conversations. On a nightstand, it helps you drift to sleep.

Form

The Wormhole Lamp’s form originates in scientific illustrations of an Einstien-Rosen Bridge structure. Conventional space time is often represented by a plane and the quickest way to travel between points on this plane is to move in a straight line at the speed of light. Gravity is capable of distorting spacetime so that the plane folds back onto itself. When an Einstein-Rosen Bridge is opened, it’s like poking a hole between distorted spacetime.  Effectively, a shortcut is created. The Wormhole Lamp is a physical representation of this shortcut between two distant locations in spacetime.

Metaphor

Many classic Sci-Fi films use wormholes and wormhole travel as metaphor to support the story of the film. Sometimes it’s used literally as a transport mechanism or more abstractly as a character’s enlightenment or rebirth. I used the electrical wire as a design element to represent an astronaut’s path traveled through the wormhole.

Short Animation

To test my theory on the form of this lamp and how it would refract light, I rendered an animation of a camera travelling through the central column of the lamp. The starts are an HDRI image that are reflected and refracted through the multi-layered optic material. This was to create a visual to parallel the journey many main characters take through wormholes in many of my favorite scifi films.

Gravitational Lensing

The 2014 film Interstellar famously portrayed highly accurate visualizations of a wormhole and its event horizon by working closely with theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. Christopher Nolan and Kip Thorne did an inspiring job balancing artistic license, beauty and drama while creating crowd-pleasing imagery. Black holes are detected by what appears to be ‘bent light’. This real-life phenomenon is called Gravitational lensing, where the black hole (a gravitational source, alters the path of light waves).   

Material

I reduced materials to colorless transparent plastic and light in an attempt to recreate gravitational lensing in a household side lamp. The Wormhole Lamp’s plastic represents the gravitational structure (a wormhole) and the LEDs represent the light emitted from stars in space. By coating the plastics with multiple layers of film at various index of refraction, I was able to achieve a multi-colored refractive response to the light transmitting through the plastic.

Process

CAD  – Fusion 360

Rendering  – KeyShot 9

Post  – Photoshop

Will Gibbons
Will Gibbons is an industrial designer-turned rendering specialist. He's trained and worked with some of today's most recognizable brands and now is focused on creating the best product visualization content on the internet.