Lighthouse – Fabrication



Lighthouse Structure

The Lighthouse was modeled by Sabetta Matsumoto using Mathematica and Rhinoceros 3D software; one of the principles in the design was inspired by the Zip-Form system by Edmund Harriss and Emily Baker, which eases the production of complex curving forms made from flat sheets, in this case steel. 

Lighthouse by Sabetta Matsumoto

It was CNC cut out of mild steel and fabricated by Emily Baker and research assistants at the University of Arkansas.

The plan was to wax the structure when it arrived at Duke. After its transportation from Arkansas to Duke, the team realized the ambient humidity during storage had spotted the Lighthouse with rust. To preserve the patina, sanding was out of question. Fortunately, Michael Ribick is a chemist – he studied the problem carefully and tested and adjusted a mixture of gentle cleaning fluids (including lemon juice!) that could remove rust spots without hurting the patina. The steel structure was painstakingly cleaned and waxed by Michael, and the results were perfect.

Michael Ribick cleaning and waxing the Lighthouse structure.

Dodecahedron Beacon

The two-colored stained-glass dodecahedron housing the Lighthouse beacon was fabricated by Bronna Butler. The beacon itself was manufactured with two LED lights and Fresnel lenses by Michael, who also took care of all the electrical wiring. 

Read also Dodecahedral Trajectory by Bronna Butler

Stereographic Projections

The sphere at the top of the lighthouse is a 3D printed design by Henry Segerman.

Read also Spotlight on Stereographic Projections by Henry Segerman


Bronna painted OctoPi and her mural using oil paints on wood panels, which are attached to the exterior back walls of the Bakery and Curio’s Shop.


The heptagonal wood base on which the lighthouse stands was designed by Dominique Ehrmann, fabricated by Gavin Smith and Alfred Kennett, and painted by Bronna.

Sabetta and Bronna with the Lighthouse

Read more about the Lighthouse

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