Old Slovenian mines in Padež (Laško) and Sitarjevec (Litija) were used to inspire small lights. These were designed to reveal intricate limestone and limonite (iron ore) surfaces including sediment deposits (stalactites, stalagmites, columns, curtains, pearls, patterned pools, and other crusty shapes). Mineral (worms of native lead) and crystal structures of cerussite and cinnabar (lead and mercury ore), as well as cave animals can also be found in lost architectural features of corridors, among the remains of wooden supports.

Initial light designs were refined to incorporate references to mining lights used in the past, as well as to newer designs. The features of older designs were juxtaposed with the features of modern lighting in general. Finally, the overall designs explore how light has been and is currently used to make spaces welcoming, homely, and ultimately to make them feel lively. The final designs are mainly for indoor use, but external ambient lighting was explored as well. 3D printing has been used to explore how far designs can be pushed, while still being able to use rapid prototyping.

Padež (lead, silver) and Sitarjevec (lead, silver, barite, mercury) are former mines. A range of mining and natural heritage has now been discovered here; including semi-precious stones and crystals and iron-rich coatings of limonite. These discoveries provided inspiration for some details of the lamp designs exhibited. The VirtualMine project has now started developing the products of related projects for practical use. Examples include using precious stones in jewelry, using limonite pigments for artisanal paints, and water from the mine as the mordant for certain natural dyes.

The lamp designed by Mark Cvelbar has been inspired by an old mining light. This design is envisaged to be used to provide permanent lighting to the Sitarjevec mine when it is opened to the public as an European monument of mining and minearology.
Lighting design (3rd year students of textile and clothing design, subject Digital 3D design): Ajda Rep (crown-shaped stalactite), Barbara Sušnik in Uroš Topič (mushroom), Eva Lipnik (bat), Gašper Gajšek (quadrant – stalactite/stalagmite), Jana Mohar in Saša Dragaš (trumpets, growing out of mine’s ground-plan), Mark Cvelbar (derivation of mining light), Neža Cigale (helix), Pia Požek (spatial drapes with windows), Sara Grižon (hemisphere-crater), Tina Dovjak in Tina Crnkovič (mine hallway) and Vita Rau (table lamp).


3D printing (ZAG): Matej Michelizza, MSc

Mentors: assist. Tanja Nuša Kočevar, PhD, Marjeta Čuk, technical collaborator and prof. Marija Jenko from NTF, Matej Michelizza, MSc and Mateja Golež, MSc from ZAG
This project was completed under the auspices of the international project VirtualMine. The Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering (NTF) were invited to collaborate with the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG) – a partner of VirtualMine project in this presentation.


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