Spring is traditionally a season to showcase nature and the outdoors.
It also happens to be the time when the latest in-home décor is on display at several global events, such as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City and the Best of Euroluce, the international lighting exposition held every two years, in Milan, Italy.
With artful symmetry, this year’s exhibits featured lighting designs increasingly derived from forms found in the natural world.
Outstanding among these is the award-winning Pebble light collection, created by designer Lukas Peet for Andlight of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Inspired by river rocks and celebrating the way their seemingly simple shape has been uniquely “sculpted” by nature over centuries, the Pebble series is crafted with blown glass.
“Glass blowing was an interesting process to utilize for this idea, as the process enables for manipulation and malleability of the material.
I wanted to allow these primordial shapes to glow — adding to their profoundness, and giving them a soul,” Peet revealed.
The resulting pendant style fixtures consist of two glass shapes conjoined to one another with a machined aluminum LED holder and heat sink, designed to “elegantly house” the electrical connections and suspension system.
Each side of the pendant is lit proportionally for consistent light output from the combined large and small forms, appearing to “endlessly evolve” in shape when viewed from different angles, according to Andlight.
Each fixture can be customized by selecting a finish — opaque, translucent, glossy, etched, or varying in color, to “honor the diverse qualities of pebbles found in nature,” the company’s literature explained. (A single glass sconce version is also available.)
Another noteworthy lighting design using blown glass to evoke a natural design element is the Dew pendant from SkLO:LIT, a division of the SkLO company founded in 2009 by husband and wife design team Paul Pavlak (architect/designer) and Karen Gilbert (artisan, metalsmith, jewelry) and brothers Pavel and Petr Hanousek.
The Dew design originally had been crafted by Gilbert for the Dew vessel (vase) offered by SkLO: Object.
SkLO is, in fact, the Czech word for glass, reflecting the pivotal importance of handblown Czech glass in the company’s creations. SkLO:LIT U.S. is headquartered in Healdsburg, Cal., where fixtures with a North American UL are built to order and individually assembled.
According to company’s website, the glass “diffuser” element features solid sculpted glass whose molten, or dripping, appearance is acquired by applying several layers of glass while still hot, in either a clear or sand-blasted finish, then attached to a solid brass armature and canopy available in dark oxidized or brushed brass (both standard-others upon request).
The Nebula suspension lamp collection from StudioMirei is artistically conjured from the celestial intersection of “interstellar clouds and dust in space-regions where stars begin to form,” states the studio website. Assembled from “uniquely manipulated” banana fiber, an inspirational outgrowth from Mirei’s native Phillipines, the design made its American debut this year at ICFF represented by New York-based design/manufacturing firm Constantini. It was also featured at the April 2019 Salone Satellite exhibition showcasing young visionary designers in Milan, Mirei’s adopted creative home and featured in the show’s Food as Design Object theme.
Seattle-based LightArt is unique in offering fixtures which address sound as well as lighting needs.
The company’s Acoustic Shade design might seem deceptively vintage, style-wise, but it covers more ground than expected, helping to control noise levels, especially when arranged in clusters.
“It’s the first shape you think of, when you think of lighting,” according to Ryan Smith, LightArt’s president. “We wanted to go back to the basics and show off the original lamp shade, but with LightArt’s added acoustic benefits.”
Those benefits derive from a double layer of Sola felt manufactured using 50-percent post-consumer recycled material. An additional perk comes from being able to select an Acoustic Shade in two different “shades” of color (from among 15 stock options) for the outer and inner fabric layer.
For those whose style tastes run outside the traditional box, and for larger areas, LightArt has added the more futuristic designs, Acoustic Wing, two felt wings affixed to a fully enclosed LED beam fixture and Acoustic Trellis, composed of a series of angled fins resembling a modernistic hanging sculpture, whose sound controlling characteristics make it a suitable substitute for a dropped ceiling, according to the company’s literature.
When it comes to new directions in lighting, the sky most definitely is not the limit anymore.