Polarized Portraits uses polarized filters to highlight pieces of disposable plastic where the beauty of the optical effects stands in contrast to the environmental consequences of plastic waste.

Polarized Portraits started out as a collaboration between Studio Kajsa Willner and professor Dmytro Orlov from Lunds University in a project where 10 designers and 10 material scientists were paired up to participate in the What Matter_s exhibition, first presented at Dutch Design Week 2018.

With a mutual fascination of physical phenomena and optical effects, the focus of the collaboration was narrowed down to a method widely used in material research; light polarization.

Willners exhibit is the result of research and exploration of the properties of polarized light – an optical phenomenon that occurs when waves of light oscillate in a single plane. To create Polarized Portraits, linear polarisation filters are sandwiched around a transparent plastic that, when lit from behind, reveals stress patterns and birefringence in the plastic, creating colorful material portraits. The pieces on display – ‘Fallen Planet’ and ‘Strip’ – are made of disposable plastics, a fruit bag and discarded protective packaging film, where the beauty of the optical effect stand in compelling contrast to the environmental consequences of plastic waste.


Fallen planet: D 40 cm | Dept 3 cm

Strip: L 110 cm | W 14 cm | 3 cm


Polarized filters


Disposable plastic


Led Strip 24 000 h

Commissioned for What matter_s, Dutch Design Week, 20–28 October 2018