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This Giant “Soap Bubble” That Never Pops Will Make You Feel Like A Kid Again

Always be playing with bubbles with the Iris lamp.

The act of blowing bubbles is one of the most satisfying things that a kid (or adult) can experience. Watching the soapy bubbles bob along, shimmering in the sunlight, is just as pleasing. That ephemeral bubble-blowing magic is captured in Iris, a series of handblown glass lamps with an iridescent shimmering coating.

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Designed by Berlin-based interior designer Sebastian Scherer, the Iris lamp looks like a larger-than-life soap bubble. And as one of winners of the Lexus Design Awards, it will be displayed at Milan Design Week in April.


Two of the 12 winners–Iris and a fort-building project for kids called Macian–were selected for mentorship by design experts to help turn the projects from concepts into the prototypes that will be shown in Milan. Scherer’s mentor is game designer Robin Hunnicke, who started out working in computer science, robots and artificial intelligence before pursuing a career in games. “Working in digital technology, building a world from scratch–you get spoiled because you can imagine something and make it real,” she says. “Working in the physical world, with real glass and paint, and a lot more limitations and structure, has brought me back to the real world.”

Scherer’s project has two components: a hand-blown crystal globe (this was done in Bavaria, at a shop that performs every piece of the glass-blowing process by hand) and a UV coating that was made possible by developments from the space science industry. His goal is to capture the childlike fascination of bubble-blowing, explains Hunnicke. “It’s about the moment in time watching children blow soap bubbles–capturing the innocence and beauty, the ethereal quality of the bubbles themselves.”


When Hunnicke started mentoring Scherer, he already had the Iris design worked out. Together, they came up with an installation design concept for the exhibition in Milan: a mirrored column of the globes, suspended from the ceiling and placed in such a way that they seem like they go on forever.

For more on the rest of the winners, check out the Lexus Design Award site.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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