50,000 metal triangles make up British designer Benjamin Hubert’s undulating Foil installation, which casts light onto the V&A’s medieval tapestries. Created through his studio Layer, Foil is a 20-metre-long kinetic sculpture running down the London museum’s elongated tapestry room.
Tiny triangles of stainless steel cover the structure, which was created with support from Braun and takes inspiration from the German manufacturer’s electric razors. However, Foil also creates an immersive, meditative environment that inspires visitors to the room to linger, slow down and lower their voices to a hush.
Layer’s choice of space – Room 94 – is the only one in the V&A that’s entirely climate controlled, so that light, humidity and temperature do not damage the medieval tapestries hanging on the walls. It means the room has a noticeably different atmosphere to the rest of the museum. This is enhanced by the Foil installation, which reflects dappled light from a tailored LED lighting system onto the darkened walls.
Foil moves in a smooth rippling motion created by the movement of 200 legs branching off a central axle. A motor at one end powers the installation. The whole contraption is covered in a strip of latex dotted with 50,000 mirror-finished stainless steel triangles. These triangles are based on the little perforations in a shaver foil, which covers the blades and captures hairs in its slots in order to create a closer shave.