Thursday, 19 January 2012

Let There be Light


This article was first published in Architecture Ireland #260

While the days have been shorter and the evenings darker, I can’t help but think about what might be some of my favourite designed objects: lights. A type of expression that can take its form in an industrial product, a decorative object, an almost intangible scheme or a quirky design, lighting – when done well – can constitute the best of industrial design, craft, art, architecture or the meeting points between them all. During Ireland’s Design Week at the beginning of November, Dublin-based lighting designers ShadowLight hosted an event exploring the philosophy of Mario Nanni, founder of Italian manufacturer Viabizzuno, and what he calls ‘The 8 Rules of Light’. Artificial light, according to Nanni, needs to inspire as well as illuminate. Viabizzuno’s range features a number of pieces that do both, as well as fittings you can believe blend seamlessly into an architectural setting. One more striking piece from the broad range Viabizzuno offer is their Peled Soffitto, designed by Antoni Arola. Light seems to burst from the ends of a cluster of slender aluminium rods hanging from a ceiling, creating an striking sculptural form, but one that doesn’t overpower its setting. Peled Soffitto seems to create a soft ambient light and functions equally as illuminant and focal point.

(Peled Soffitto by Viabizzuno, here and above)

(Collection of Light by Humans Since 1982)

Currently showing at Phillips & de Pury in London, the latest work from Stockholm design studio Humans Since 1982 is a curious piece, far more focal point in itself than functional lamp to illuminate something else. Evoking a display case filled with an insect collection, Collection of Light shows the LED as a curiosity in itself. By collecting and arranging various LEDs in a display case-cum-lamp, the aim is to "expose each illuminant as a worthy industrial product". The collection of LEDs in different sizes, intensities and colour temperatures certainly makes for an interesting display, and serves as a great reminder of the technology going into today’s lighting, placing it centre-stage rather than hiding it within a fitting. The result is remarkable: a beautiful, intriguing object filled with a range of beautiful, intriguing objects: a collection of light more than worthy to be part of anyone’s collection of design.