Click here for Part II of 'Lux Redux: Euroluce 2013'
Daniel Becker’s highly graphic ‘Sparks’ modular lighting system for Quasar, with its two-and three-pronged LED lighting elements, is infinitely configurable, creating a striking spatial intervention
There’s something contradictory about lighting design.
It occupies itself with the giving of form to objects whose primary purpose, as sources of illumination, is to produce something immaterial and without substance: light. The result of this function is, however, to allow us a greater legibility of our everyday environment, to see more – and, by extension, to see more objects. Lighting, you could argue, is the most fundamental object type within the designed material landscape, aiding as it does a greater sensory perception of what lies around us.
The senses were certainly fully engaged at the recent 2013 edition of Euroluce – its 27th – the international biennale for lighting manufacturing that rides pillion with the Milan Salone del Mobile, offering as it did a confident and exhaustive product presentation. Four halls at the Milan fairgrounds saw well over 300 exhibitors – both big-name brands and smaller labels, as well as designer-producers – show a proliferation of technologically led, formally bold lights and lighting systems for a range of interior and exterior applications, in both contract and domestic contexts.
Yonoh studio’s ‘Chou’ lamp for LZF substitutes veneer wood for paper in its Suzie-Wong-inspired design
It comes as little surprise that LED – with all its rapidly changing technological possibilities – was to be found everywhere, the responses to just what to do with such a creative opportunity as diverse as the multitude of LED-element products that have hit the market of late. Rethink the way lamps should look, moving beyond existing typologies, or retro-fit existing, much-loved designs with LED? Both avenues seemed to be explored by exhibitors at Euroluce.
Strong formal design statements were much in evidence – this certainly wasn’t a fair characterised by discretion – with emphatic, quasi-sculptural forms of lamps counterbalancing the reduction in the size of the lighting elements themselves, while there was a strong presence of outdoor lighting products.
Meanwhile, a number of exhibitors presented designs by internationally renowned architects, which serve, among other things, as stylistic continuations of their recognisable signature design vocabularies. The mutual benefits to such collaborations are clear. And perhaps it’s a sign of the somewhat straitened times that we live in that a number of manufacturers exhibited systems that were to a greater or lesser extent modular. Buy now. Add to later.
The definitively titled ‘TheLight’ pendant lamp by Cristian Cubiñá for Alma Light tips its hat in formal terms to Art Deco, while being thoroughly contemporary in its use of sandblasted methacrylate for its multiple shades
Modularity / Configurability
Lighting programmes that permit a range of configuration options, with the possibility of their expansion and adaptation built into their design from the outset, could be found at many of Euroluce’s stands this year, suggesting a growing need, perhaps informed by the current air of economic caution, for products that work as a long-term investment. The use of smaller LED lighting elements helps, of course, to deliver a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to designing such lighting systems.
The streets of Toyko were inspiration for the ‘Daikanyama’ modular lighting system by Thomas Bernstrand for Zero, which emulate the criss-crossing overhead cables of Japanese capital, here carrying the lamps’ power supply
Infinitely modular and endlessly configurable, 'Set' by J Ll Xuclà for Vibia cleverly uses light and shadow to produce unique illumination effects that create volume out of the insubstantial
‘Ellepi’ is a modular suspension lighting product from Italamp, whose satin-glass elements feature a concentric-circle design that is reminiscent of the Art Deco era
It may look free-form, but the modularity of the ‘Argent’ light by Dodo Arslan for Terzani, which features a myriad small, hand-shaped metal discs, allows users to create as much of a spatial statement as they like
A retro dot-matrix aesthetic meets the latest technology with B.Lux’s new ‘Calc’ modular ceiling lighting system, whose LED elements produce a uniform, glare-free illumination for offices and other work spaces
Completely modular, Francisco Gomez Paz’s innovative ‘Synapse’ LED lighting system for Luceplan allows the formation of a multiplicity of spatial arrangements, all from the easy fitting together of one simple, repeated element
Configurability is the name of the game with Roberto Paoli’s flexible ‘Multiball’ lighting system for Modo, which features a series of differently sized glazed globes suspended from a modular track
There was little that was shy and retiring about a lot of the products on show at Euroluce this year. A sign that, beyond Europe at least, the construction sector is still in good health, with architects and planners specifying confident lighting pieces for new interiors, bold, somewhat sculptural forms drew the design-loving crowds.
Giovanni Barbato’s aluminium ‘Spiry’ lamp for Axo Light melds form and function: its spiral shape operates as a light diffuser, creating a more indirect kind of illumination
Word up: manufacturer Delightfull’s new ‘Graphic Lamp Collection’ tells it like it is, referencing the glamorous age of mid-century illuminated signage
A compelling exploration of immateriality, of presence and absence, Arik Levy’s ‘Wireflow’ series of LED pendant lights for Vibia reduce, reduce, reduce, mapping out space in three dimensions through the most delicate of wire frames
A new addition to the Wever & Ducré-produced 'J.J.W.' family of lighting designs by Belgian architect Jules Wabbes, this new wall lamp marries a Deco aesthetic with up-to-date production technology
The ‘Billy TL’ table light by Kalmar makes an virtue of its simple construction, comprising two matt-lacquered metal elements connected to an unstained, but coated, wooden batten. The shade is multi-directional
There’s an old argument that good design is easily readable in terms of operation and function. If so, Note Design Studio’s ‘Vinge’ table light for Örsjö, with its solid-brass, outsized dimmer switch, fits the bill
The new ’57 Series’ Bocci continues Omer Arbel’s exploration of form determined by process. Trapping different amounts and configurations of air in a glass matrix produces unique forms, which when illuminated, become even more detailed
The union of two object types is effortlessly pulled off by Fabien Dumas with his ‘La Discrète’ lamp/shelf-showcase for Marset, which illuminates as well as framed one’s most significant possessions
Designed by GuimeraiCinca studio for Fontini, ‘5.1’ is a pared-down, graphite-brass asymmetric light switch, which measures in at a super-slim 3mm. Its reduced design has earned it a red dot award for 2013
Repetition of form is the concept underpinning Matali Crasset’s new ‘Stick’ lighting collection for Fabbian, whose apertures and texture work to produce a graphic dynamic of light and shadow, yet one that is warm and friendly
Brand van Egmond’s new ‘Gaia’ pendant light evokes the language of the classic chandelier, yet subverts its form, creating a highly sculptural, organic piece, finished with nickel and Swarovski crystals
Low ceilings receive the designheure treatment with the label's new 'Nenuphar' collection, designed to create a colourful, graphic presence that offers viewers different forms depending on their perspective
As its name would suggest, a formal and visual reduction is what Sam Hecht’s ‘Semplice’ table lamp for Oluce is all about. Sitting directly on the table, its glass and galvanised metal structure is topped with a dimmer knob
Arturo Alvarez’s ‘Tati’ collection of lamps feature a woven, highly textured skin that wrap around the lighting element, creating a dappled illumination effect
Departing from its signature design language, but remaining materially true to its continued use of birch wood, Secto Design’s new ‘Aspiro 8000’ pendant light celebrates the art of wood-bending
Extreme functionality underpins Form Us With Love's utilitarian-looking 'Yupik' portable lamp for Fontana Arte, which can be used as pendant and table light, as well as uplighter and torch. Its housing is made of lightweight polypropylene foam
Finnish handcraft meets ultra-modern computer geometry with ‘Pilke 28 Floor’, a new floor lamp designed by Tuukaa Halonen for Showroom Finland for their growing Pilke plywood lighting family
The classic chandelier is remixed by porcelain specialist Lladró with this new pendant light from the manufacturer’s ‘Belle de Nuit’ collection. A sharp, contemporary colour palette meets exquisite craftsmanship
Sam Wilkinson’s award-winning ‘Plumen’ bulb receives a new home with ‘Pharoah’, designed by Hulger for Light Years, a glare-preventing and light-optimising pendant, whose mirror-light surface turns transparent at the flick of a switch
Sandro Santantonio Design’s collaboration with manufacturer Lucente has produced the ‘HandMade’ collection, which experiments with light and eco-friendly fibreglass to create simple, beautifully finished forms
As a piece of architectural lighting, Platek’s ‘Tetra’ wall light, with its strongly rectilinear form, is itself suggestive of architectural form and volume
Part of in-es artdesign’s ‘Matt’ collection, ‘Lavagna’ uses the same finish found on classroom blackboards, meaning users can tailor its surface to their requirements, adding their own chalky graphic interventions
The everyday object that is the pencil is, through repetition, repurposed by Tom Rossau, functioning as a light shade in his new family of 'Pencil Lamps'
Click here for Part II of 'Lux Redux: Euroluce 2013'
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