Lighting by Haberdashery seen at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge - Arc of History - bespoke lighting sculpture
Lighting by Haberdashery seen at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge - Arc of History - bespoke lighting sculpture
Context & Credits
Item Arc of History - bespoke lighting sculpture
Created by Haberdashery
Item Details
Haberdashery was commissioned by Newnham College; the iconic institution at the heart of Cambridge University. ’Arc of history' is a bespoke lighting sculpture which sits in the heart of the new buildings created by Walters & Cohen Architects for the women’s college, floating above the students in the Iris café and recreation area.

We were given access to a fantastic archive of letters, photographs and personal correspondence from throughout the pioneering history of this famous college. By recreating details from key documents across 270 etched and rolled brass ‘pages’ positioned in flowing arcs across the ceiling space, we invite the audience below to contemplate those who have gone before them.

Brilliant minds like Rosalind Franklin; a chemist and x-ray crystallographer recognised posthumously for her significant contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA, classicist Jane Harrison who uncovered the more subtle-layers beneath the ancient Greek civilisation paving the way for Mary Beard, and Philippa Fawcett who came top of her year’s mathematical exams at Cambridge but could not be officially recognised by her male counterparts are stories that deserve to be celebrated.

Each historical document was carefully selected, digitised and converted into textured illustrations photo-etched on to brass sheets, each carefully rolled to give them a perception of delicate movement.

By perforating the designs on each unique brass sheet of ‘paper’ the light from overhead skylights pierces the sculpture creating patterns of light and shadow, giving a unique interpretation of an aesthetic first used by Japanese artist Hokusai in his woodcut ‘Travellers Caught in a Sudden breeze at Ejiri’ (c.1832).

Meet the Creator



London, United Kingdom

Haberdashery is an award-winning London based design studio focused on the perpetual appeal of light.

We specialize in a poetic approach to lighting. We have a 25+ team qualified in industrial- or product design, engineering, research and product development. We all share a love of light and push ourselves to find new ways to harness it to transform how we perceive space, color and form. Over the past 10+ years, we have circumnavigated the world, delivering more than 450 projects, installing our work in over 30 countries in locations that are diverse, challenging and unique. Haberdashery’s portfolio consists out of three bodies of work: products, sculptures and collectibles. In all three we invite people into the world of haberdashery transforming our familiar surroundings using light as a poetic language of expression.

Available for commission/custom work