Inspired by the shape first explored by futurist and inventor Buckminster Fuller Buckyball is a towering 25-foot illuminated sculpture featuring two nested geodesic spheres. Composed of 4,500 LED nodes arranged along a series of pentagons and hexagons, Buckyball is animated by custom software programmed by Villareal to display over 16 million distinct colors. The lights dynamically shift and fade in both sequenced patterns and random order, generating vibrant hues that enliven the Exploratorium’s public space in both daylight and moonlight.
The spherical, soccer ball–like form of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, which informs Villareal’s work, was discovered in a carbon molecule by scientists in 1985. It was coined the “Buckminsterfullerene,” or “Buckyball,” in homage to him, and has since been avidly researched by scientists and material engineers.