Royal Philips Electronics’ “Transitions” 2008 road show throughout Europe, featuring exhibits designed by eight leading European architects and lighting designers and installed in containers, was staged to showcase the exciting new possibilities offered by a new generation of lighting technology.

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Italy’s contribution, “Post Digital” by Fabio Novembre, consists of a cube of 30,000 LEDs that are sensitive to human proximity. The effect is amazing.

In Novembre’s words:

“Digital is all that is represented by digits; it comes from the Latin digitus meaning ‘finger’; and you count digits with your fingers.

“Digital is about transforming the analog nature of life into a countable block of elements. It is a human attempt at simplification of the infinite space.

“As a modern caveman, I wanted to create a link between the digital grid of LEDs and the freedom of movement of a body in space, without any physical contact. Simplification is a risky approach to the complexity of relations. . . . I want to enter a post-digital phase in which technology simplifies life whilst preserving its humanity.

“When you go close to the walls, without touching them, you can switch on the 30,000 LEDs and, like a writer, you can draw and write, and leave trails based on the movements inside the container.

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“Each individual circuit incorporates a movement detector which activates the LEDs instantaneously, but delays their switching off for a few seconds.”