’Polarized Portraits’ by Studio Kajsa Willner

What happens when a designer gets the possibility to work with a scientist?

What happens when a Swedish designer Kajsa Willner gets the possibility to work with a scientist? ’Polarized Portraits’.
It started out as a collaboration between Studio Kajsa Willner and professor Dmytro Orlov from Lunds University in a project where 10 designers and 10 material scientists were paired up to participate in the What Matter_s’ Exhibition, first presented at Dutch Design Week 2018.

’Polarized portraits’ uses polarized filters to highlight pieces of disposable plastic where the beauty of the optical effects stands in contrast to the environmental consequences of plastic waste.

With a mutual fascination of physical phenomena and optical effects, the focus of the collaboration was narrowed down to a method widely used in material research; light polarization.

Willners exhibit is the result of research and exploration of the properties of polarized light – an optical phenomenon that occurs when waves of light oscillate in a single plane. To create ’Polarized Portraits’, linear polarisation filters are sandwiched around a transparent plastic that, when lit from behind, reveals stress patterns and birefringence in the plastic, creating colorful material portraits. The pieces on display – ‘Fallen Planet’ and ‘Strip’ – are made of disposable plastics, a fruit bag and discarded protective packaging film, where the beauty of the optical effect stand in compelling contrast to the environmental consequences of plastic waste.

The two pieces on display; ‘Fallen Planet’ and ‘Strip’, are large-scale reconstructions of polarized light microscopy revealing the inherent stress and birefringence
of the plastic under examination, creating colourful material portraits.

Release Date
November 20, 2018
A curated exhibition where 10 designers + 10 material scientists from southern Sweden have been paired up to collaborate, explore and experiment. First exhibited at Dutch design week (20-28 oct 2018) and will now travel back to Sweden to be exhibited at Form design / center in Malmö.