An artist, a luxury lighting expert, and a revolutionary new material have come together to create something exceptional -- genuinely a game-changer.
So this post is essential reading if you ever get involved in specifying decorative lighting installations in existing buildings (especially listed or heritage) and/or in big spaces (atria, foyers, stairwells).
Haute Couture Carbon from Artelier C makes possible pieces of unimaginable lightness. Don't believe me? This installation in a shopping mall, which is 32m x 24m x 1.3m will weigh 45kg. 45kg!
As a result, a piece like this one…
…needs only one power cable and one thin wire to stabilize it. This means you can use an existing power cable/hook without worrying about the weight it can take (because this piece will be lighter than anything used before). Plus, you can attach the wire anywhere – you don’t have to find a load-bearing beam. Therefore, they do not require intervention into the fabric of the building!
In fact, these pieces can be so light that, if you have a skylight over a stairwell, you could hang an installation from the glass itself – no need to build a dedicated frame.
The absence of any requirement for reinforced suspension points makes installation not only so much easier, but also a lot cheaper -- and quicker! (Not to mention less negotiating with architects, structural engineers, conservation officers….)
The collection is called Haute Couture Carbon – “haute couture” because many installations will be custom and “carbon” because of the material that makes possible the extraordinary lightness.
That material is a form of carbon fibre so advanced that it is only used in the space industry. Shipments for the lights must be accompanied by a letter from the Japanese government that authorizes its use for artistic purposes only.
The artist is Sebastiaan Vandeputte, who had to find a way to work the material by hand (normally it needs high temperatures) and to enable it to keep the desired shapes. He built a machine to combine it with a polymer, making ribbons about 2.5mm wide, each of which contains 24,000 (24,000!) strands of carbon fibre! The resulting pieces are entirely made by Seba. So they are hi-tech yet hand-crafted. This means that every example is different, and makes possible a high degree of customization.
The luxury lighting expert is Tom Claeys, the Belgian agent for our crystal contemporary chandelier brand, Windfall. Having been selling luxury lighting for 30 years, he knows what the Holy Grail is: something that looks utterly fantastic but which is not held back by all the usual installation issues, most of which, it turns out, are caused by weight.
So, together, Seba and Tom created the perfect chandelier! Here they are, in Seba’s studio:
Tom, on the left, has founded a new company, Artelier C, as a vehicle for commercializing feature lights created by artists. Seba’s Haute Couture Carbon is the first.
Here are some more installations – domestic and hospitality:
The one above was designed to have no suspension cables at all! It would stand on the beam.
And here are some more big installations: an ice hotel…
…and the Belgian pavilion at the Milan Expo world’s fair in 2015: