make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend

make your fridays matter

‘Soft Solids’ by Daydreaming Objects is a symphony of light and nature
From solidity to fluidity, Soft Solids reimagines lighting design with wax
Image: Norbert Tukaj

‘Soft Solids’ by Daydreaming Objects is a symphony of light and nature

Embracing the fluidity of design, the Soft Solids lightscapes by Daydreaming Objects illuminate spaces with an ethereal charm fostering harmony and tranquillity.

by Aarthi Mohan
Published on : May 09, 2024

In lighting design, materiality is more than just a practical consideration. It is a fundamental aspect that shapes the ambience and character of a space. From the sleekness of steel to the transparency of glass, each material brings its own qualities and aesthetic appeal. Recently, designers have begun to challenge traditional notions of solidity and explore the transformative potential of natural materials. This shift in perspective has given rise to the concept of Soft Solids, an innovative approach to lighting design that embraces the fluidity and adaptability of materials like wax which is celebrated for its renewable properties and gentle light diffusion. The lighting collection invites us to rethink our understanding of materials and explore new possibilities for sustainability, creativity, and regeneration in design.

Crafted by the creative duo behind Copenhagen-based design practice Daydreaming Objects, Ruta Palionyte and Leva Baranauskaite, the series breathes new life into vintage luminaire parts, blending them with organic material to create striking yet eco-conscious light objects. As the Lithuanian designer puts it, their collaboration birth designs that transcend mere functionality, weaving narratives that stir the imagination and evoke emotion. By synthesising unexpected materials and bold experimentation, they breathe life into everyday spaces, infusing them with an ethereal quality that blurs the line between reality and imagination.

At its core, the collection represents a departure from the rigidity of traditional materials and a celebration of the inherent flexibility and malleability of natural substances. By intentionally repurposing wax, the series seeks to create a perfect balance between form and function, inviting viewers to engage with lighting in a more tactile and immersive way. Unlike conventional luminaires, which are often characterised by their static and unyielding nature, Soft Solids embody a sense of fluidity and movement, as if they were alive and constantly evolving. This approach to materiality opens up new avenues for creativity and experimentation, allowing the designers to push the boundaries of what is possible in lighting design.

The choice of wax as the primary medium serves a dual purpose; Its renewable properties, coupled with its ability to diffuse light, create a soft and inviting ambience. By blending it with other natural materials like stearin and soy wax, the Danish designers ensure that each product design is not only environmentally friendly but also durable and resistant to wear and tear. Additionally, utilising LED light sources with low heat emission preserves the form, maintaining its sculptural allure without distortion. The shades also feature voids around the bulb that facilitate airflow and ventilation.

The inspiration behind the series is deeply rooted in the organic nature of the main material and its capacity to transform from a shapeless mass into a tangible form. Drawing on this, the product designers have created light pieces that tread on the principles of growth and regeneration found in nature. The central aspect of the collection is the Stem modular installation; an overlong pendant light that connects tapered modules into a totem-like structure. By symbolising the processes and continuous evolution of design, Stem serves as a powerful reminder of the cyclical nature of design and the potential for renewal inherent in all things. Light sources in each unit create a chain of light that can be configured to suit different spaces.

Wax, with its plastic-like appearance, offers a versatile canvas for crafting biomorphic shapes that mirror the organic world. When lit, these shapes emit a soothing light in shades of off-white, soft blue, and green, evoking the calmness of natural landscapes. Leveraging on the varied properties, the lighting designers blend traditional craftsmanship techniques with modern digital 3D modelling and upcycling practices, showcasing the diverse possibilities in the crafting process.

The melding of vintage components with wax creates a narrative of nostalgia intertwined with contemporary sustainability, which is a theme echoed throughout the series. By upcycling elements from non-functional luminaires dating back to the 20th century particularly during the 1960s and 1970s from countries such as Sweden, Italy, and the former Czechoslovakia, the wax shades symbolise a departure and a new beginning, revitalising the pieces with a sense of vitality. Through the integration of malleable material with existing metal and glass components, a narrative emerges that honours the past while projecting towards the future. As the architect explains, "It is all about enjoying the process of creating a unique and individual response to each undertaking while fostering collaborations with specialists and practices from diverse fields”.

The practice comprises a lighting designer and an architect blending expertise and imagination into their work on the collection. Hailing from Lithuania and now based in Copenhagen the duo draws inspiration from diverse backgrounds, with Palionyte's mastery in lighting consultancy to Baranauskaite's architectural experience spanning across countries like Denmark, Italy, and Japan. The designer’s artistic journey began with a Master's degree in Art (Lighting Design) from Edinburgh, laying the groundwork for her multifaceted approach to light as a creative medium. Reflecting on her work, she shares, “Light is an essential element in my work, shaping site-specific installations for public or private spaces. Beyond its functional aspect, I approach light as a creative medium that can shape our spatial experiences”.

Meanwhile, the architect’s creative works bring a diverse range of experiences to her practice. With a Master's degree in Architecture from the Royal Danish Academy of Arts (KADK) and a Bachelor's degree from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, she has cultivated her expertise through engagements in Italy, Austria, Japan, Lithuania, and Denmark. Founder of i.B Archstudio, Baranauskaite embodies a philosophy centred on the joy of creation and focuses on creating innovative designs, with an emphasis on projects within the Nordic region and Lithuania.

As the duo states, “Soft Solids explores the balance of creativity, functionality, and sustainable adaptability within objects. Our work transcends the confines of conventional design, posing thought-provoking questions about our relationship with the material world and the role of design in shaping our collective consciousness”. The series not only sheds light on the beauty of sustainable design but also sparks conversations about the emotional resonance of lighting. Through their innovative use of materials and storytelling, the creative minds at Daydreaming Objects invite us to explore how light can evoke memories, emotions, and dreams within our living spaces.

Recently unveiled at the Contemporary Art and Design Gallery 'Vartai' in Vilnius, Lithuania, the collection beckons viewers to ponder on the potential implications of embracing a "soft solid" strategy in contemporary design and consumer behaviours. With future plans to showcase their work at '3 Days of Design' in June 2024, Daydreaming Objects invites us to continue exploring the exciting world illuminated by Soft Solids.

What do you think?

Comments Added Successfully!