A Wallpaper that Lights Up

Textile Designer Celine Marcq has developed an electro-reactive wallpaper that visualizes electrical energy usage


A popular adage says ‘What you don’t know won’t affect you’. If we are not aware of ‘something’ that is happening around us, we will not be disturbed by it. While it may be a handy mantra to fend off distraction from negative news and publicity (like in the case of celebrities, athletes, politicians and socialites), it cannot possibly be applied in all contexts, especially in cases where that ‘something’ has been screaming the life out of it for attention.

Source: Celine Marcq
Source: Celine Marcq

Copious energy consumption has been a real pressing global issue for years now. However, response to myriad calls for behavioral change has been lukewarm, as the world continues to see a steep rise in power consumption year on year. One of the reasons for such lackadaisical reaction may be the lack of connection that we, the consumers, feel towards the problem. While there are numerous charts and projections available to aid our analysis and understanding, the issue still remains distant from our individual truth – for there is a notable challenge in quantifying the abstract. While it is the foremost manifestation of energy in homes and buildings, conservation of electricity is, in most cases, taken for granted.

Why is it that when I flick the switch, I still have electricity?

If electricity is fast becoming scarce, why do I have unlimited supply of it?

Why do I never run out of it?

Image Source: Celine Marcq

In an effort to create a visual peg of just how much electricity we consume at home, textile designer Cecil Marcq has developed an electro-reactive wallpaper that displays artistic, abstract patterns based on one’s energy consumption. “Energy,” says Marcq, “is an invisible yet incredibly valuable resource. The ways in which we consume energy, and the amount that we use, is highly unsustainable.” The aim of the project, aptly named ‘Inconspicuous Matter’, is to visualize electrical energy flows, in the hope of attracting the viewers’ attention and generating their awareness on how much electricity is being used. By helping humans see electricity as a raw material rather than an abstract concept, Marcq hopes to invite people to be more mindful of their carbon footprint and, eventually, adjust their habits to lower power consumption.

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Marcq believes that her design can help in the global effort to conserve energy. “It is important,” she said, “that we consider not only how we are using energy but also where it come from.” She observed that while the world is driven by innovation, there is still a huge lacuna, especially among individuals, in terms of utilization of clean energy resource. She added that as new energy resources may take several more decades before they are able to ramp up their production, the need to conserve energy grows ever more urgent.

Video Source: Celine Marcq

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A Wallpaper that Lights Up

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