Two trees intertwined, an imaginary animal, a cloud hugging the ground… Composed of a luminous cocoon wearing two trunks of wood, this light awakens the imagination. Two simple wooden cylinders extend as light masts on which lies a misty lampshade in tyvek.
Forêt illuminée, by Ionna Vautrin, for Super-ette
“When I was conceptualizing this design I was inspired by the of society-a unique, organic social structure formed through the relationships that connect an individual to a greater community. This idea of a single mass constructed of smaller individual elements I found to be an interesting concept to visualize through form.”
- Chris Hardy
Thirty-seven-year old Jean-François d’Or (a name that befits the sunny, luminous quality about him) is considered one of the most talented, prolific and appreciated designers in Belgium.
In 2010, he was chosen to represent his hometown, Brussels, during the national design week (Design September), and a retrospective selection of his works was displayed in one of the shiny spheres of the iconic Atomium. On this occasion, critics praised his “simple, unpretentious, logical objects that appeal as much for their evident, clearly perceptible design as well as their discrete poetry”. “Humble” is quite the epithet for Jean-François d’Or — and he proudly claims the label, turning these words from Belgian poet George Linze into his motto: “A strange phosphorescence covers the humblest objects as if poetry were only what is extraordinary about the ordinary”.
Droog design, Domani, Interni Edition, Konstantin Slawinski, Jongform, Ligne Roset (his terracotta Maternity pot was recently released during the Milan Salone, another landmark in the collaboration he started a few years ago with the Roset group) or The Conran Shop are among the brands his name has been associated with. Lately, he has designed a bed for Magnitude (which was introduced during the Kortrijk fair) and a series of door handles for Vervloet (on display at Maison&Objet in Paris). A large panel which somehow illustrates his versatility, as well as his ability to absorb himself into raw material, whether clay, glass, metal or wood is involved.
Graduated from the renowned La Cambre School of design in Brussels (1998), he started his own studio, Loudor design, five years later. In between, he had managed to achieve a project in New York with textile designer Caroline Ray, then to work in his homeland with star designers such as Maarten Van Severen and Hans De Pelsmacker. Already granted a Henry van de Velde award (Belgium’s most coveted prize in the design field), this deeply grounded young man’s creations are now everywhere, through his brainchild: Loudor design has set up ongoing collaborations with the most prestigious design labels in Europe. A gifted, modern day alchemist, well-named Jean-François d’Or seems to turn everything he touches into gold.
– Elodie Palasse-Leroux
(French journalist Elodie Palasse-Leroux is the founder and editor of Sleek design, launched in 2009)
Bonbonne hanging lamp, Bonbonne floor lamp, Arlequin, Bonbonne, Drop, Mezzoluna, by Jean-François d’Or, Loudor design
Crimen pinecone lamp consists of 56 plates and screws, without an internal skeleton due to rounding forms plaques form gaps through which light passes. Boards themselves are also slightly transparent, this creates a particular pattern of light from the outside and downward bright light. Flatpack in natural maple veneer.
Crimean Pinecone Lamp, by Pavel Eekra
“I will see what you see.”
As a designer, Jinseok Hwang always thought about presenting stories to people in a unique way through product design. He was inspired by the movements of the humanoid robot and mechanics from movies and comic books and tried to give life and emotion into a desk lamp design. Lobot means “Lighting” plus “Robot” as well as a “Robot” designed by “low tech”. Lobot is a desk lamp with LED lighting source. Its simple design with anodized aluminum body will match with modern task environment. The body is designed to easily adjust and optimize for a particular task situation by well-engineered hinge system.
Lobot Desk Lamp, by Jinseok Hwang, for studioLOBOT
Chouchin is the Japanese word for the traditional, symbolic paper and bamboo lanterns used as light, luminous signs outside public places or as lucky charms outside homes. They are inspired by this ethereal, poetic and… almost magical object and has reinterpreted it in a contemporary key. It has an essential and, at the same time, evocative design: the glass body, obtained through a single blowing process, is closed by a collar underneath. Colour played a key role in the choice of materials: glass offers a warm surface on which the varnish produces a full, brilliant colour.
Chouchin, by Ionna Vautrin, Edited by Foscarini
Applying high-tech sheet steel laser cutting for the production of a luminaire, which is nevertheless characterised by a plain construction, was the starting point for Orbita. The lampshade consists of 16 identical elements, which are without the use of tools inserted into a centrally positioned ring holding the central illuminant. Due to the folded edges, the elements achieve a very high stability and require only minimal material input. Despite its seemingly complex body, Orbita is characterised by both lightness and a clean structure.
“The Algue.MGX ornamental table lamp seems to undulate following the streams and moving fluids in our environment. It is a lit evocation of the abyssal depths of our oceans.”
- Xavier Lust
“The idea for the Algue.MGX was born during one of the frequent informal meetings I had with Xavier in his studio. At one point, we came to talk about the classic novel ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne, and how 3D printing technologies could give us the freedom to imitate the fantastical, vegetal shapes from the story. The sketches drawn during this meeting became the starting point of the 3D computer development. For me, the Algue.MGX is a fantasy come to life,”
- Alessio Esposti, Art Director, .MGX.
Gino Sarfatti “Moon”
Gae Aulenti “Rimorchiadore”
Gino Sarfatti “N°1063″
Ettore Sottsass “Asteroid”
Michel Buffet floor lamp
If there is a domain in which Italian design shines — likewise for Scandinavians — it is light. Only the birthplace of Renaissance could renew and enhance this accessory, indispensable to man for the pursuit of activities whatever the time, with such creative freedom in the post-war years. From this creative profusion, Galerie BSL unveils its pantheon of 1950s to 1980s lighting, a vintage selection rigorously guided by quality and rarity. This new gallery — which opened only a year ago but which has already exhibited at the prestigious Pavillon des Arts et du Design and will do so at Design Miami/Basel — has chosen to only show twenty handpicked pieces. A welcome commitment to help collectors, at a time when everything is ‘design,’ in a market where the best and worst are displayed side by side.
Can be found: duly referenced, often award-winning, always admired lighting icons. Pieces which are above all a metamorphosis of an everyday object into a contemporary sculpture, amazing in their strength and unique character. For many specialists, Gino Sarfatti, creator of hundreds of models, is the 20th century’s greatest lighting designer. “I have never been interested in form,” he confesses, defining himself as an artisan. Everything starts with the bulb for this great chrome stand enthusiast who invented a lamp kit to change as you wish into nine different types of lighting, wall light, reflector, etc.
Credit where credit is due, Gino Sarfatti occupies a core place in this exhibition. The most spectacular piece and the most important: the large N°2068 ceiling light designed in 1952. With its thirty lights, it conjures up a modern castle, a church candelabra or the crown of candles worn by young girls in the procession during the Festival of Light in Nordic countries. Everything is sober, meticulous, but also ethereal with Sarfatti, who chooses to leave the wire apparent “because you have to be able to look at the reason for the lamp.”* Amongst others is the extremely rare wall light N°194 (1950) in brass and lacquered metal, the audacious lamp N°1063 which totally changed the idea of domestic lighting (Compasso d’Oro in 1954, prestigious Italian design award), the table lamp N°604 called Moon (1969), with a scattering of micro-bulbs like lunar craters.
For at the era of the conquest of space, tomorrow’s light comes from outer space, following the example of the Asteroide (1968) table lamp, a very ‘pop’ creation by Ettore Sottsass, leader of the Memphis neo- baroque movement. Made of perspex, it reflects peninsula designers’ taste for new materials adaptable to the craziest shapes. The Golden Gate by Nanda Vigo features amongst the exhibition’s centrepieces, extensive refined architecture spanning two metres which won its designer, influenced by the silhouette of the eponymous bridge, the New York Prize for Industrial Design in 1971, or Rimorchiatore by Gae Aulenti (1969), an example of which appears in the Centre Pompidou collection. Also featuring are creations by the Italians Angelo Lelli – the Calder of lighting -, Studio A.R.D.I.T.I., Matteo Thun and Joe Colombo (honoured by a retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2007).
Without forgetting, for comparison, works by Français Michel Buffet in the vein of Serge Mouille and the German master Ingo Maurer. Finally to complete this vintage selection the Escargot (snail) lamp, created by Le Corbusier in 1954 for the Cité Radieuse in Marseille, produced for the first time in 2011 by Cassina with a limited edition of 150 numbered pieces. In short, a historical and didactic journey displaying all that today’s creators owe these exemplary light designs.
– Alexandre Crochet, journalist, art historian.
Italian Lights, May 20 – July 23, at Galerie BSL