Biophilic Design in Light of Art, Neuroscience, and Technology

Can an Interstice Unleash Spatial Freedom?

Aperture’s unique mechanical design yields restorative benefits by seducing our habits of perception.

Written by: Sky Factory Team

In the summer of 2020, Sky Factory introduced the Aperture SkyCeiling, a new series of Luminous SkyCeilings, available in circular or elliptical openings, featuring a unique mechanical design.

To generate a more pronounced illusion of depth, the design team seized upon the spatial manipulation of material layers to confound our hardwired habits of perception. For the first time, a Luminous SkyCeiling would physically separate the SkyTile (image tile) from the slightly lower perimeter trim and ceiling plane.

The emerging gap or interstice in Aperture’s circular and elliptical portals opens a unique perceptual door. The gap is small (less than 1/2 inch), yet consequential. Looking up from underneath its overhead perimeter, the Aperture’s interstice becomes a gap of indeterminate depth, one that the casual observer, at first glance, might even overlook.

However, this gap acts as a subtle yet powerful element in our focused and peripheral vision and, consequently, informs our pre-cognitive spatial awareness. The result is to detach the sky from the ceiling plane. Caught in this ambiguity, cognition provides the solution--deep vertical space.

The observer may not focus on the gap, but regardless, even a glimpse triggers this illusion of deep external space and engages our hippocampal spatial maps, as well as our felt memories of embodied proximity of the outdoors.

This is deep biophilic engagement, experienced by the body-mind that viscerally reconnects the observer to the vastness of the sky by illusion.

The sleight of mind behind this architectural illusion lies in the fact that it galvanizes our spatial memories of similar sensory stimuli and we are suddenly able to experience what the artist turned illusionist conceived: placing our bodies elsewhere, in a sensed, fully embodied known space of the natural world.

The vastness of the sky is now…inside.


Aperture’s aesthetic trim, two styles of openings (circular and elliptical), and various sizes lend themselves for designing intuitive wayfinding patterns or attractive configurations.

Samantha Keeping, founder and the Principal Designer at Keeping Interiors, a full-service interior design studio based in Santa Barbara, CA, seized Aperture’s versatility to offer creative, signature configurations for her West Coast clientele.

Please contact one of our Sky Designers to discuss your project or application today.

Aperture SkyCeilings are available as circular portals in three diameters (3-ft, 4-ft, and 5-ft), and elliptical portals in two sizes (4’ X 6’) and 5’ X 8’).


Sky Factory is the only designer of evidence-based, virtual skylights that also provides continuing education courses on the benefits of biophilic design. Our family of Luminous SkyCeilings, Windows, and Digital Cinema applications are biophilic designed products that provide research-verified, architectural solutions for a range of healthcare and commercial spaces. To find out how Sky Factory can bring the healing presence of nature to your organization, contact us today.

Share This Article:
Share This Article: