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Bright Star by ARTalk

[by Mei Zuo '13] There is a light that never goes out.

March 8, 2010

[by Mei Zuo ’13]

Photo Courtesy of Andy Ryan

Bright Star, would I were stedfast as thou art –
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart.

     – John Keats, “Bright Star”

The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same.
The Cambridge skyline welcomes a new Player: the MIT Media Lab Complex.
Alas, here I stand. Under the starry sky, with my eyes frozen on the glowing building.
It’s the opening ceremony, mellow, so I hum the Smiths ~ “take me out tonight, where there’s music and there’s people and they’re young and alive….” (“There is a light that never goes out”)

As I walk inside, my pulse slows; the air is of another planet. The lighting is simply ethereal. Hush…Moonlight Sonata,
A feeling of weightlessness.

Below: Tod Machover, professor of music and media, discusses his interaction with the space.

Just a bit of background: the new building was designed by Fumihiko Maki & Associates architects. It’s an extension to the existing Media Lab built by I.M. Pei, and it’ll house certain programs in architecture and planning and comparative media studies, among others. It was envisioned as a forward-thinking building to increase transparency and collaboration among the various programs there. Undoubtedly, there’s a certain pervasive energy that’s felt instantly.

The building as the organism.

One of my favorite interior elements is the UFO. In the lobby, a saucer-shaped den becomes a cosmonautic meeting-space. Welcome to the space age! So mod!

**We’re on the set of Space Odyssey: 2001! Mad props to John, my ardent photographer! ^_~
Style inspiration: structured shoulders from Balmain’s FW 2010 Collection, redux theme;
minty melon color palette from Balenciaga’s FW 2010 Collection, 60’s pop mod much?

Notice the curved panels that wrap around in a futuristic fashion? For some reason it reminded me of the Guggenheim Museum. Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling rotunda—inspiration through vertigo.

Guggenheim’s rotunda. (Photo: JMG galleries)

Talk about concentricity!

Since we’re on the circular theme: artist Alyson Shotz did an exhibition at the Guggenheim of 18,000 fresnel mirrors caught in suspension with staples. A crystallized curtain of lenses.

The Shape of Space, 2004, Alyson Shotz. (Photo: Kristopher McKay)

Isn’t it magical—what light can do to a space?
A surreal feeling, like the lighting of the new Media Lab Complex. To create a perfect view, Fumihiko Maki designed with louvered windows, injected with argon!

So anything you see through the windows undergoes a pixelation effect.
The light diffuses through the building, and is amplified in all the glass structures, like this floating staircase. Creating pure luminosity…..

It’s a light that never goes out.
A Bright Star.

17 responses to “Bright Star”

  1. Hi all: leave a comment if you’re unable to view the video.

    Ken ’11 [blog coordinator]

  2. Luíza says:

    Oh my, Keats, The Smiths and a “cosmonautic meeting space” that looks like the lift from 2001’s space station… Is there any more possible awesomeness?

  3. navin says:


  4. Morteza says:

    These images are great. That mirror exhibition are really incredible.

  5. Ammar says:

    Beautiful post, Beautiful pictures.
    I can sum it all up in one word, beautiful.
    The Media Complex new building is just amazing. I love the whole glass and light concept, the resulting luminosity is really fantastic. Let’s all salute Fumihiko-san for this amazing design.

    Also, a Thank you note for the model and the photographer, you just made my day, wonderful work!

    A light that never goes out … A Bright Star

  6. Anonymous says:

    Defunct video???

  7. Mei Zuo '13 says:


    Haha, yes the experience of the UFO was quite extraterrestrial!

    Thanks! I certainly try to make my fashion-shoots fluid for the spring collections.

    There appears to be a glitch in the video.

  8. Ken '11 says:

    Oh no! I will fix the video tonight after my class ends (10pm). I think I created an ARTalk YouTube account a while back, will have to dig it up…

  9. Kevin M says:

    Can’t see your video, sorry!

    (Feodra 7 with Firefox 3.5.3 if any of that helps)

  10. :3 '14 says:


  11. Ken '11 says:

    Video fixed! Thanks to YouTube.
    -Ken ’11

  12. Shivam says:

    Amaaazing pictures! The building looks beautifuul! smile

  13. Anonymous says:

    Video is functioning. *Machover, “the building as an organism?”

  14. Morteza says:

    Would you mind if I use the first and the fourth picture?

  15. Caio ('14?) says:

    I love those glassy buildings I love those glassy buildings <3

  16. Mei Zuo '13 says:

    I own no claims to pics 1,3 & 4, so please contact the respective photographers to negotiate usage. Sorry :(

    I @Morteza
    I own no claims to pics 1,3 & 4, so please contact the respective photographers to negotiate usage. Sorry :(

    I <3 the video!!!! Thanks for embedding ^_~

  17. Mei Zuo '13 says:

    Hmmm, my comment box is having issues with display. anyhoo,

    I love the video!!! thanks for embedding ^_~ Hmmm, my comment box is having issues with display. anyhoo,

    I love the video!!! thanks for embedding ^_~ <3 it