"This wonderful elixir of light is the thing that actually connects the immaterial with the material—that connects the cosmic to the plain everyday existence that we try to live in." - James Turrell
From broader classifications to niches of architectural lighting, the implications of light are exponential and enormous. For over five decades now, American artist James Turrell has worked with his favourite mediums, light and space, to create his instantly recognisable artworks; in the same vein, think of the poet writing with light, Ingo Maurer, and his massive legacy in the field of lighting design. Natural and artificial light are salient parts of our domestic and urban life, reinvigorating senses, and aligning spaces to their users in full effect—from homes to educational institutions and art galleries.
In anticipation of the 61st edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano, with its acclaimed lighting biennial Euroluce, gearing up to come alive with its central concept of The City of Lights this year, keywords of ‘human centricity, technological experimentation, innovation and aesthetic research,’ are being explored at length. Lighting designers are readying themselves to showcase products defined by innovation, exploratory shapes, sizes, colours, and materiality, counterbalanced by their functions, styles, and design personalities. From figurative to decorative, these lighting designs will dabble with technological compositions, efficiency, and sustainability features, marrying ‘smart’ and ‘integrated’ lighting leveraged by design, producing solutions that range from simplicity to complexity, and marking appealing aesthetics.
Spectrum is widely perceived as a band of colours produced by the separation of light’s components (also Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover for a visual)—a method of classification between two extremes. With this series, STIR curates some of the most anticipated lighting designs, special projects, exhibitions, and installations marking their presence at the 31st edition of Euroluce, a biennial trade fair straddling technology and poetry, with the dimension of design at its heart, discovering the myriad facets and arrangements of light illustrating the design week.
Signature by Ingo Maurer
The staggeringly successful and eponymous lighting brand of German lighting designer Ingo Maurer will present their new pendant light, Signature, at Euroluce 2023, drawing on ‘the idea of chance.’ The Signature lamp features a unique, ‘uncontrolled’ form formed by a falling cable, articulating itself as a three-dimensional drawing in a room. A soft black cable is linked to a springy, circular structure that successfully creates the impression of it being a ‘coincidental, continuous shape.’ The deliberately inconspicuous lampshade hangs delicately at the end of this construction, a jewel drop hanging from the tangled cable, stylish and deceptively simple.
When viewed from different vantage points, the shape of the lampshade made of anodised aluminium changes from a cone to an obliquely inclined rectangle, furthering the intrigue of Signature, which comes alive in its asymmetry and ambiguity, with a directional GU10 light bulb. The brand explains, “In combination with multiple Signature lamps, the lampshade becomes a practical tool: By hooking a cable into the curved end, the lamps can be joined to form a joint constellation. By doing this, one can, for example, form a large cloud or bend the downlight, thereby changing it to an uplight. The enclosed design proposals from the Ingo Maurer design team serve as inspiration for the consumers to best showcase the pendant light. But there are no limits to your own imagination: be it a wild mesh or a symmetric configuration—the clips make it possible to join the cable to the form at any desired point.”
Diatomea by Salienti
Composed of a few simple elements, Diatomea by design studio Salienti, and produced by lighting brand Martinelli Luce, is an elegant table or floor lamp that invites one to interact and experiment with it and uncover the myriad possibilities of its use, which include resting on a bedside table, on a table on the veranda, or being used as ambient light on the floor, or in the corner of the living room. Its spindly and geometric composition ensures flexibility in use—two single external legs and a double central one support two horizontal segments that house two LED strips, allowing for a perfect 360° articulation that enables the light to be directed in a concentrated or linear way. By simply continuing its construction horizontally with new elements, Diatomea can also be expanded, a modular table lamp designed with a minimalist three-legged structure. “This gives the opportunity to constantly reshape it and use it in a versatile way that takes it beyond the home environments, in the different spaces of daily life. The possibility of expansion beyond the two basic segments makes it perfect for extending along an office conference table or illuminating dinner at a table of friends,” shares the Italian company.
Cono W by Catellani & Smith
Catellani & Smith is an Italian company that designs and produces ‘luminous creations,’ influenced by its founder and artistic directors, Enzo Catellani and Logan Smith. Their latest offering is “More than a lamp: a sculpture in Light”—the slender and stylish Cono W wall lamp features an elegant tubular structure in a distinctive cone shape, one of its hallmark features. With a height of over two metres, the wall lamp by Catellani & Smith has different light sources at its two ends—the main one placed on the top part spreads light up towards the ceiling and the wall on which the lamp is placed, owing to its asymmetric lens and a high-efficiency COB LED positioned inside the structure—a 1W LED on the other hand, gives off a subtle sliver of light from the lower end of the lamp.
“Both light sources can be controlled separately. The upper light is dimmable, while the lower one can only be switched on and off. Cono makes various light scenarios possible, ranging from discreet back illumination to dramatic accents. Because of its length above two meters, Cono is best suited for rooms with high ceilings and requires space upwards and downwards to unfurl its lighting effect. As always, the finish of Cono W is applied by hand, and combines a bright shade of blue—spread with irregular brushstrokes to bring a textured look to the outer surface of the lamp—with the beautiful gold leaf that covers the interior, featuring the characteristic irregular surface that distinguishes a number of models in the Catellani & Smith collection,” the company relays.
Punk by Barovier&Toso
Barovier&Toso, an Italian brand that specialises in Venetian glass will present their Punk design collection which cites the stylistic expressions of the 1950s and 1960s as inspiration and embodies ‘poetry and lightness’ in its bold and novel being. With Punk, designer Roberto Lazzeroni combines tradition and modernity. “Like splinters, the tiles in Venetian Crystal combine irony and rigour. Visibly anchored to the structural ring, they screen the light source and establish proportional relationships of remarkable impact,” says the company, which will be showcasing simultaneously at their FuoriSalone showroom as well as the Euroluce fairgrounds.
FREGIO by Foscarini
In an immersive installation at Foscarini Spazio Monforte in Milan, the Italian brand will unveil their new lamp collection FREGIO at Milan Design Week 2023, “the culmination of an artistic research project by Andrea Anastasio in collaboration with Ceramica Gatti 1928 Workshop, a ceramic artisan workshop founded by Riccardo Gatti in 1928,” according to the brand. For FREGIO, Anastasio researched ceramic panels from the castings in the Gatti archives in Faenza, Italy, dissecting them and in turn, exploring the interfaces between ceramic materiality, volume, and light. Driven by experimentation and featuring portions of historical works, the fixtures designed by Anastasio embody a one-of-a-kind floral bas-relief, articulated as suspension and wall-mounted lamp designs. “Foscarini imagines develops and produces decorative lamps: night and day, whether they’re on or off, they seduce, surprise and inspire. Foscarini lights are conceived as design objects that transform spaces: we bring beauty, we stir emotions,” the brand relays.
Iris by A-N-D
In anticipation of the long-awaited Euroluce biennale, Vancouver-based lighting design studio A-N-D will exhibit at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2023 and the Alcova design district, simultaneously, are introducing their brand-new luminaire as along with newer iterations of their various series. One of them is the orb-like Iris ceiling and wall lamp designed by Caine Heintzman, where a kaleidoscopic light extends from its orb-like light source, travelling beyond its encased, crystalline, and elliptical surface resembling a transparent oyster shell. “Iris performs with a weightlessness that lends it an aerial quality. Voluminous and vast, it enters a room with a salient scale,” the Canadian studio shares.
Created as a surface-mounted luminaire, Iris has a prismatic convex lens that reaches across the wall or ceiling while a resplendent light glows from within its form, giving off a diffused illumination “while evoking a sense of wonder.”
Segno by HIND RABII
HIND RABII’s Segno outdoor lamp collection designed by LCM Marin Design Studio is a 'real play of light,’ and can be installed indoors as well. Across their lighting projects, the Belgium-based lighting brand incorporates an essential ‘human aspect,’ as is the case with Segno, their large and hefty lamp with a frame of powder-coated aluminium that features a particular casing finished with colours inspired by nature. An arduous developing process was deemed necessary to launch this huge, particular lamp, that can be discovered in Milan during Euroluce 2023.
The brand elaborates on its design philosophy and creative process—“We expect lights to shed light, to shine, to create shadows. To do this, the poetry of materials, glass, wood, gold and silver leaf, colours used by HIND RABII, positively alter the realities for playing the emotions card without indifference. For more than 20 years, we have followed our idea of creating and manufacturing all our lighting at home in Verviers-Belgium, we use the materials we love, metal, wood and we address glassblowers, all around Venice for mouth-blown glass, by craftsmen who have acquired know-how over generations. The work in Murano allows us to be in tune with our ideas of respect for nature and to use only recyclable products.”
Prisma by Brokis
With a portfolio of modern functional lighting fixtures, decorative objects, and unique lighting solutions for architects and interior designers representing a synthesis of exquisite design and the artistry of Bohemian glass makers, Czech premium lighting brand Brokis is set to present three new lighting collections as well as additions to their autumn 2022 collections at Euroluce 2023. Among the new collections on display is Prisma designed by Brokis art director Lucie Koldova.
The Prisma collection comprises a horizontal pendent light with two dual glass spheres, a vertical pendent light with a single glass sphere, both of which hang from wire ropes, and an impressive floor light variant, a majestic light sculpture in the form of a strong and upright decagon crowned with a luminous glass sphere. Classic handblown glass spheres are anchored to either or both ends of a robust decagonal metal prism that lends the collection its moniker. “The shape in combination with the striking surface reflects light at different and unexpected angles, like a prism. With a choice of two different elegant finishes–brushed steel or galvanized yellow zinc matte–the light is a bold artistic object in the interior offering unique vertical, horizontal, and diagonal compositions with subtle colourful reflections,” Brokis elaborates.
Ama by Bomma
The Czech-Republic based lighting design company Bomma will introduce four new crystal lighting collections and one new product at Euroluce 2023, one of them being the seashell-inspired Ama collection. According to the company, the collection’s name references pearls, specifically, the Japanese female pearl divers called Ama (‘woman of the sea’). Designed by Bomma’s art director Václav Mlynář, and available in three original colors—smoke, bronze and crystal matte—the Ama collection visually evokes the delicate shells of mussels that produce treasured pearls, where pieces of meticulously cut glass encases a pearl in its center in the form of a light source. “These lights enable beautiful combinations of opened and closed shells, always creating an original constellation,” Mlynář explains.
“Ama is formed by a stylised cut-crystal shell, protecting a light source of LED chips hidden in a round lightbulb with a titanium nitride coating that produces its pearly sheen. Each glass shell is produced by using a special glassmaking technique. Over the course of two days, the glass is heated and gradually melts by its own weight into a prepared conical mold. Ama lighting comes in both opened and closed versions that work beautifully as individual pieces or natural groupings into mussel clusters,” shares Bomma.
As one would expect from a lighting expo as big and commended as Euroluce, and a significant celebration of lighting design at Milan Design Week, every possible type of luminaire is set to illuminate the city of Milan this April. The spectral event celebrating and displaying these standout fixtures and much, much more, is set to enthral its guests, lovers of design and otherwise, by tapping into new and exciting ways to interact with lighting as lifestyle products, instead of just functional objects of design.
STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.