Beneath the surface

Design / Life

Milan Design Week 2019 attendees were the first to clock eyes on the immersive installation that is Raytrace, brought to us by surface heavyweight Cosentino in collaboration with designer Benjamin Hubert of LAYER.

The spectacular architectural installation showcases the harmony between nature, light and architecture through Cosentino’s innovative Dekton®.

Raytrace is a 25m-long and 6m-high triangular passage made of Dekton® ultracompact surfaces and is set in the dark tunnels of Ventura Centrale, creating a huge passageway in which visitors can walk through and become a part of the installation.

“Months of preparation went into the creation of Raytrace, and months of that obviously was theory. But you can never legislate for something that’s just this big,” says designer Benjamin Hubert. “When you see an application of Dekton® like this it makes you understand that it can be used as something architectural.”

Taking inspiration from the Dekton® creation process when designing Raytrace, Benjamin put the element of water back onto the material with caustics, the refraction of light through water. Driven by 29 glass spheres and 87 LED lights, the result sees a mesmerising caustic pattern to slowly dance across the surface for a completely serene feeling of being underwater. Two mirrors at both ends of the vault reflect the installation, creating the illusion of infinite space and offering glimpses of the caustic patterns playing out on the interior.

“What makes Raytrace different and so emotional is that what we’ve designed here isn’t a thing – it’s not an object – it’s actually a feeling and an atmosphere,” Benjamin said. “The most important thing about Raytrace is how it makes people feel. We encourage people to touch it, to interact and really experience the properties of Dekton®.”

Raytrace uses Dekton® Slim, the newest material introduced this year with a thickness of only 4mm. It is one of the most innovative and lightweight surfaces on the market, and creates new and exciting possibilities for architectural applications.

The triangular element of Raytrace is made of 360sqm of Dekton® Slim in the colour Zenith, while the floor is composed of 365sqm of Dekton® (20mm) in the colour Spectra. Twenty stools made of Dekton® surround the tunnel, encouraging visitors to sit, enjoy and immerse themselves in the installation.

“As a designer, and personally, it’s very difficult to work out exactly how this is going to feel. The impression of size, the impression of material, the impression of light – one of the biggest emotions, that maybe I shouldn’t say as a designer, is relief that all the theory converted to something powerful in practice.”