Have a Cup of Atomic Joe with Wonsik Chae’s Lighting Bag

The other day while hiking in Greylock Mountain Park scant miles from our lovely if temporary Berkshire mountain home, my wife snapped a picture of me in my new—and garishly colored—Rossignol shell, only to see that the white stripes of the jacket had returned an eerie luminescent glow. “Looks like you’ve been drinking too much Plutonium,” she quipped. Though I’m loathe to adopt the look as some kind of space-age aesthetic, South Korean designer Wonsik Chae seems to have done exactly that.

Lighting Bag. Designed by Wonsik Chae.

His “Lighting Bag” resembles any mundane pouch of dry tea (except for the tag at the end of the string that says “Draw a Light” in a clean sans serif font), but immerse this apparently innocuous bag in fluid and voila!, the resultant emanation isn’t Early Grey or English Breakfast but rather a steady stream of smoky, fluorescent light. Chae, who created the concept to help “tear down the idea that creating forms from which light can be projected must be a difficult task,” is on record as a bit of a curmudgeon with traditional lighting execution: “I want light forms to flow easily,” he opines. And flow easily it does. Once the “tea” bag is immersed in the fluid, the contained “fluorescent molecules” catalyze with the liquid medium to let loose a steady stream of liquid light. The effect is very like that of amber tea streaming from a newly wet bag, only this isn’t tea (no word on the drinkability/toxicity of Chae’s liquid light), nor does it look like anything I’ve ever seen (unless you count the radioactive bar that lodges itself in Homer’s shirt on The Simpsons.




Well, then, without further ado, here’s my list of cultural artifacts/entities Wonsik’s creation evokes: Scottie’s perpetual collection of luminescent alcoholic beverages from the original Star Trek; the cheesily glowing martians in 1958’s I Married a Monster from Outer Space; Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen; and, of course, the phosphorescent underwater extraterrestrial from The Abyss. With such a line-up of aesthetically intriguing resonances, it’s no wonder Lighting Bag has provoked a spirited response, with eager aficionados either criticizing what they deem an old trick (some likening it to children’s “glow sticks”), or wanting to know more, i.e., how long does it last? is it portable/re-usable? and, most importantly, can you drink it? I’m betting the answers in order would be 1. not long, 2. no, and 3. DEFINITELY NOT. But be that as it may, Chae’s creation—much like Studio 1000’s Eminence Collection is still an innovative design and an intriguing aesthetic. Why not let it light your way this Halloween season?

via Design Boom.

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