The Photon Project launches at the London Design Festival

A large scale architectural installation, informative exhibition and free two day conference will take place at The Building Centre WC1 during the 2013 London Design Festival to launch a four year study into the effects of natural light.

A typical new home in the UK has an average of only 12% of the walls glazed. Natural light in the home and workplace can reduce energy costs and improve health and wellbeing, so why do we have so little natural light in our buildings?

The Photon Project is a major four-year scientific study to investigate the impact of natural light on biology and wellbeing. To launch the project a prototype fully-glazed ‘Photon Pod’ will be built in Central London, complete with seating and landscaping. The installation and exhibition will be in place during the London Design Festival (14 – 22 September). During this week the public are invited to experience ‘life under glass’ and take part in simple scientific tests, designed specifically for the event by Harvard University to test the effects of daylight on the human body.

Complete information after the break.

The external installation and associated events support the long-term Photon Project, a collaboration between specialist glazing company Cantifix UK Ltd and The University of Oxford. The study will involve 300 participants spending time living in Photon Pods – 30m2 all-glass living enclosures - which incorporate both living and sleeping areas. The pods will vary in transparency with participants scientifically tested in order to investigate the impact of natural light on their biology and wellbeing.

This exciting research and development project follows the discovery of a new photoreceptor within the eye which has unusual light-sensing properties. Professor Russell Foster, British Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at Oxford University and his team are credited with the discovery of non-rod, noncone, photosensitive ganglion cells in the mammalian retina. These cells help regulate the 24h biological (circadian) clock, and are involved in a host of other irradiance detecting tasks that regulate sleep, alertness and hormonal rhythms which affect those with or without vision. Professor Russell Foster is leading the research team for The Photon Project:

“Embedded within our genes, and almost all life on Earth, are the instructions for a biological clock that marks the passage of approximately 24 hours (circadian rhythms). The daily cycle of light and dark outside normally acts to synchronise our circadian system.

Few of us appreciate this internal world and we are seduced by an apparent freedom to sleep, work, eat, drink or travel when we want,”, Professor Foster.

There is evidence that an inability to reset the body clock can have a critical impact on: schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, some cancers and many other life threatening conditions. It is hoped that the Photon Project research will inform future decisions in architecture, medicine, interior design, product design and many more.

A free two day conference will take place on 16 and 17 September, it will bring together leading scientists, designers, engineers, artists and academics to explore the significance of exploiting daylight in space.

The Photon Project launch as part of The Design Festival will engage a community of creative industries, design professionals and academics to recognise the significance of exploiting daylight in our everyday space.

Fore more information, go to

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Cite: "The Photon Project launches at the London Design Festival" 11 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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