Stripping away the frills poses the risk of coming up against bare essentials, sometimes in a highly visible way. A fine example are Alessandro Zambelli’s new lights, designed for .exnovo. He calls the collection “Afillia,” a name borrowed from botany. In plant terms, it means leafless, though not lifeless: surely an apt image for a collection of luminous essentials and airy voids.
The Afillia range of six lighting accessories consists of three table lamps and three pendant lights. The base or socket ring is in Swiss pine, a premium wood from the Alto Adige mountains, hand-crafted according to the region’s ancient traditions. The wood fitting locks on to a light diffuser in polyamide (also known as nylon fibre), sintered by professional 3D printing.
The results are furnishing extras, either one-offs or limited editions. The avant-garde technology really does print them, but the machined product is in perfect harmony with the intuitive skill of the master-craftsmen who shape the material from the amorphous polymer block. They finish off the process by hand, lending the personal touch to every creation. The centrepiece of each accessory is a diffuser which embraces and embellishes space. Delicate, lace-like patterns with their geometrical pinholes give rise to two-dimensional origami in thin, curvaceous spirals. Free to waver at will, the light casts fleeting shadows, then beams into unexpected focus, forming compact halos, round and bright. This is energy in fluid form, in the no-man’s land between stuff and shape, air and light.
Afillia by Alessandro Zambelli for .exnovo