Monthly Archives: April 2012

WHEN Ilan El was an architecture student he was taught that ”just as concrete is a material, so too is light”. That is, it’s a basic and crucial element of design that should always be used efficiently and to its best effect. Still, he’s appalled by how little consideration people give to lighting. ”So often I walk into new flats or houses where so much effort and money has gone into design and you walk into the central lounge area, the heart of a home, and it’s fitted with down lights. Really brutal, ugly light. Why? Who wants to feel like they’re in a retail shop or pharmacy in their home?” El’s work usually begins with a visit to a client’s home to study the existing aesthetic and dimensions of a space: high ceilings or low; windows that welcome natural light and will reflect light at night; the need for decorative or task lights, or both. He talks about different qualities of light: warm or cool glows, sharp or soft light. Slowly, he says, people begin to appreciate how different types of light can alter the way they feel in a space. Alex Caldwell knew El for many years as a friend before asking his advice on where to buy a good reading lamp. When she couldn’t find what she was looking for, the conversation turned to El designing a bespoke lamp. He visited her home, the front room of which serves as her shiatsu studio, began asking questions about materials and eventually drew up sketches. The resulting design, the Kaf lamp, incorporates tarnished copper and two simple dishes on the top and bottom of the lamp. Light filters through an acrylic diffuser engraved with an art deco design of two fish. It was the first of three pieces Caldwell commissioned from El. She now has a custom-made version of Rain – an assembly of shimmering flutes that appear like raindrops in suspension – in her stairwell, and a Kah-du light in her studio. ”When I walk past the stairwell, especially at night, it gives me this really warm feeling and raises my spirits. It really opens the space and there’s something quite magical about the way the light reflects off the surrounding windows, like a Christmas tree. I’m not a person who’s involved with the creative arts but it’s been a lovely process to have someone take interest in how you use light and then interact with you and expand on your very small thoughts and ideas.” Read more:…


Shapes, shadows and interior design

In Japanese “IN-EI” means shadow and this is also the name of the new paper lamp designed for Artemide by fashion designer Issey Miyake and his research laboratory, Reality Lab. The material is made of 40% recycled PET bottles and in line with precise mathematical formulae is folded to create an origami-like light sculptures. The range includes pendant, table and floor lamps, each of them unique in their form, project distinct shadows within the room. All of the lamps are fitted with LEDs. The formal language of these pieces brings the “Akari” paper lamps to mind, created in the 1950s by Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi.

Another luminaire, whose magnetic skin is designed to offer greater flexibility, is “Ipparco”, created for Artemide by Scottish designer Neil Poulton. A “light ring” held by a magnetic joint can be moved up and down the aluminum rod that is the luminaire’s stem and can be fixed at any point the user desires. “Ipparco” can also be rotated 360 degrees on both a vertical and horizontal axis.

A silver reverse and opal-white diffuser – at first glance, the round wall and ceiling light “Silverback” by Danish lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen looks like many another timeless luminaires. However, the Copenhagen-based design group Kibisi (whose members include Jens Martin Skibsted, Lars Larsen and Bjarke Ingels) has fitted it out with a rather special feature: The silver reverse is curved in such a way that it reflects the structure of the wall or ceiling from which it hangs, and thus appears to merge into it. Furthermore, “Silverback” adorns wall and ceiling surfaces with a gleam that envelopes them like the moon’s halo. When determining the optimal curvature for the shell in relation to the flat wall and ceiling, the designers looked to water droplets on an even surface for inspiration.

Commissioned by Zumtobel, designers from Delugan Meissl Architects considered the effect of light and shadow when creating a new LED spotlight for use in a retail setting. “Iyon” serves to create light and dark areas, in which (according to the manufacturer’s own research) customers tend to frequent more than others. For cases of malfunction or emergency, the Dornbirn-based lighting specialist has also developed a series of emergency lighting in collaboration with Austrian design agency Eoos. “Onlite Resclite”, “Onlite Comsign 150”, “Onlite Puresign 150” and “Onlite Crossign 160” are rescue and safety lights which mark out escape routes in case of emergency.