Freedom of Creation

"Lightnest" wall light by Frederik Roijé for Freedom of Creation

FOC_Freedom-Of-Creation_Wall-Light_Lightnest_Design-Frederik-Roije_01Is it a wall light that is like "lampshades nesting together into the wall"as Frederik Roijé maintains? Or is it "a group of soft mushrooms spreading light that gently illuminate every space in an exceptional way" as Freedom of Creation think? FOC_Freedom-Of-Creation_Wall-Light_Lightnest_Design-Frederik-Roije_03

All we know is that it is a unique design and another fabulous applique, called Lightnest, from the masters of 3D printing technology, Freedom of Creation.

This is what the light looks like off.


This is a very good example of how rapid-prototyping technologies can make possible shapes that are very complex in their detail, but which come together into a simple, harmonious whole.

Or is it a cloud? Or a jelly fish?

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Milan 2012

Produzione Privata table lightThis being an even-numbered year, there is no Euroluce attached to the Milan Furniture Fair (they have the kitchen show, EuroCucina, instead). The rules of the main Fair forbid lighting stands, so the only lights you'll see there are dressing furniture stands. On non-Euroluce years, the lighting community gathers in Frankfurt, for Light+Building (for which I have one of my fair guides half-written but, as a result of the death of my father, I may not be able to complete or issue it).

HOWEVER, there are lots of exciting lights being shown in Milan itself during the time of the Fair, both at the showrooms that Italian lighting makers have there, and in all sorts of other spaces. No interiors event has the buzz -- the parties! -- of Milan during the week of the Furniture Fair!

We are highlighting here some of the lighting destinations in Milan that you should not miss. There is no definitive list of who will be where, so I'll update this post if I hear of any other worthwhile destinations. But, as always, pick up the Interni guide when you arrive.

I am only too used to the expressions on the faces of Britons when I point out that, for over 100 years, the world's top designers and architects have been designing lights -- striving to create the most beautiful, the most fascinating, the most effective, sometimes the most challenging, pieces they can. Nevertheless, it is true, and the best place to experience this is in the Brera district of Milan, at Via Varese 15, where the studio of Michele de Lucchi is. Besides being one of the world's most illustrious architects, he is also a leading designer of lights.  His portfolio includes several designs for Artemide, including Tolomeo and LED net -- currently the most enquired about light in all the Architonic Virtual Showrooms.

But for a balanced, creative existence he has his "private production", Produzione Privata, that allows him contact with craftsmen and materials without the same level of commercial pressure.  This is run from the studio, which is where they stage their exhibition during the Salone del Mobile. The light at the head of this post is a new design being launched this year. I can't think of anything that works quite as this one will: an uplighter, but decorative -- the glass will also be lit by the edge of the cone of light. It is part of an exhibition called Sostare Penzolando (Standing and dangling).

So they are must-see. Who else is?

FontanaArte arguably still has the finest collection of 20th century designs of any lighting company but they have lost their way in recent years. So we are delighted that, strengthened by recent changes in ownership, they are announcing for Milan and Frankfurt that "something new is back!".

"FontanaArte takes part in the most important international lighting fair where it will show its new products and release a new edition of its historical products designed by those architects who have played key roles in the company’s success over 80 years of history."

So you should see mouth-watering additions to their collection of vintage lights, at the Casa degli Atellani, Corso Magenta, 65 and no doubt at their excellent showrooms (where the whole collection can be seen) at Via Santa Margherita 4.

Maybe the biggest splash will be made by the English! Tom Dixon is creating MOST at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, Via Olona 6B, with our favourite design blog, dezeen, which is setting up their Design Studio "powered by Jambox". The space is being furnished by Tom Dixon to resemble Andy Warhol's Factory, and there will be lots of groovy stuff happening -- see also this post from dezeen. It will be a chance to see Tom Dixon's new Fin Light and Etch Web, about which we have posted recently. Delightfull will be there too -- see our recent Delightfull posts.

Venice's two greatest brands will, as always, be putting on spectacular shows. Barovier & Toso will be in the Orto Botanico di Brera, creating The Secret Garden with Paola Navone, Citco and Zaha Hadid.  Venini have not yet let on what they are going to do but, whatever it is, you won't want to miss their showroom at Via Monte Napoleone 9.

Not to be outdone, Baccarat is putting on an exhibition at the Palazzo Morando, Via Sant'Andrea 6.

Meanwhile, MGX and FOC will be showing more ground-breaking pieces made using rapid-prototyping technologies. MGX will show a trio of Algue.MGX lights by Xavier Lust [sic] as part of the Perspectives exhibition at the Triennale. Meanwhile, FOC will be at the Dream Factory in the Brera district -- Corso Garibaldi 117.

FOC Milan 2012The exhibited items that will have travelled furtherest will David Trubridge's, from New Zealand. Normally, David himself comes too, but not this year (he'll be in New York at the Wanted Design show, that is concurrent with ICFF). His absence is for a good reason, though; distribution in Europe has now been sorted out, CE-certified versions are becoming available, and more pieces are being shipped as kit sets. So do take this opportunity to see current favourites, plus some new suprises! Via Madonnina 12.

Talking of CE certification, we try to bring to your attention those very few north Amican lighting companies who do create international versions of their lights. This means that you can specify them knowing them to be safe and legal. So we are delighted to point you to Spazio Pontaccio (Via Pontaccio 8) where you will see pieces by the exciting young New York City-based Roll & Hill. There will be new designs by the company's founder, Jason Miller, as well as by the justifiably very fashionable Lindsey Adleman and Rich Brilliant Willing.

Do not forget the brand-specific lighting showrooms in Milan. Besides FontanaArte and Venini (referred to above):

Artemide Corso Monforte 19 and Via Manzoni 12

Flos Corso Monforte 9

Luceplan Corso Monforte 7


Catellani & Smith will be at the Casa della Luce, Via Ventura 5

Foscarini will be at Superstudiopiu'

Pallucco will be at Via Tortona 37 Block 2H.12-21

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91 light Palm Chandelier from Freedom of Creation

FOC Bespoke Palm Chandelier 91 light 2 Just one of Freedom of Creation's Palms looks amazing...

Freedom of Creation Palm hanging 7 b...its apparently simple form in fact a complex arrangement of curves, made possible by the laser sintering of a polyamide. It has a wonderful texture and is semi-translucent, creating variations of light and shade in the luminaire, as you can see.

Palm, designed by the Finn, Janne Kyttanen, comes in various versions - -the single pendant (above), a table light and a floor light. There is also a standard 37 light chandelier:

FOC Palm Chandelier 36 light

But, gloriously, for a private residence in London, the interior designers Staffan Tollgård commissioned a 91 light version:

FOC Bespoke Palm Chandelier low 1

It is 160cm in diameter and the metal frame has a gun metal finish. The polyamide Palms complement the decorated stucco ceiling.

Images courtesy of Freedom of Creation

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Maison & Objet, Paris January 2012: a handy guide

M&O logo MAISON ET OBJET, January 2012: A handy guide to good lighting stands, courtesy of Cameron Peters Fine Lighting

This guide is handier as a PDF (click on M&O 01 12 handy guide), with the info split so that each hall starts on a separate page. This means that you only have to have out the pages for the hall that you are in. There are also PDF indices, by hall/row (M&O 01 12 summary by hall and row) and alphabetically (M&O 01 12 alphabetical summary).


There are formal activities in Paris itself from the 19th to the 23rd January (so almost the same dates as Maison & Objet at Villepinte). Seventy showrooms are open for the event, from ten o’clock in the morning till eight o’clock in the evening, and there is a shuttle bus connecting them. The vast majority are either:

–          along the rue du Mail (approximately between the Bourse and the Palais Royal), or

–          on and around the rue de Furstenberg in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. None are of specific interest to lighting fans. However, not formally part of PARIS DECO... OFF, but exhibiting in their own showrooms, rather than at Villepinte, is....

Pouenat Ferronnier 22bis Passage Dauphine 75006

One of the most exciting, varied – and courageous – sources of furniture and lighting, this long-established fine metal working company is creating collections with leading young designers that include India Mahdavi, Nicolas Aubagnac, Damien Langlois-Meurinne, François Champsaur and Michel Jounannet. There is a new collection by Jean-Louis Deniot ( ) and recent introductions from Piero Manara ( ). The showrooms are open from 20th January to 24th January (i.e. the same dates as Maison & Objet), from noon till eight o’clock. Who wouldn’t want an excuse to visit this corner of Paris for a few hours!

Also whilst in Paris (rather than out at Villepinte):

–          the best lighting department in any department store anywhere (though its quality goes up and down a bit) is at Le Bon Marché ( )

–          the best retail lighting shop anywhere (except that it has far too little space) is Novaluce at 172, rue du Faubourg St Honoré, 75008 ( )

–          the best area anywhere for vintage lights and chandeliers is in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, approximately within the square marked out by the rue des Saints-Pères, the rue de l’Université, the rue du Bac and the rue de Lille (you can visit Pouenat at the same time!)

–          see what Hervé van der Straeten is up to, at 11 rue Ferdinand Duval 75004

–          visit the truly amazing shop cum museum (chandeliers under water, huge talking vases...) that Philippe Starck created for Baccarat at 11, place des Etats-Unis.


This hall can be dangerous. Not only can quality (of product and service) be low, but electrical items do not necessarily comply with international or north American regulations, so they are illegal and potentially dangerous. However, some do comply. A stand that we have liked previously (we have not worked with them yet) is:

Ay Illuminate B16/C15

This is an eco company based in the Netherlands, but with production in Asia, Ethiopia and Swaziland. The principal material is bamboo, but rattan, sisal and various woods are also used. Designs are well-proportioned and well-made. Some consciously draw on the ethnic environment from which they come – e.g. fishing nets. Others are just good contemporary abstract designs.


If you’ve got the time, do not just whizz past the Craft section in Hall 4 (on the side by Hall 5A). Two stands to note, neither of which make lights: –          we were enchanted at the last fair by the creations of Atelier Volubile (stand E1) and –          we never miss the opportunity to visit the stand of Didier Legros – (D61)! You’ll see why (though maybe it’s a Man Thing...).

Also in this section is:

Benoît Vieubled C1

...with his charming, playful, airy, wire creations. Maybe his globe chandelier (Monde à l’Endroit, Monde à l’Envers) will also there. He works with Art & Floritude, upon whose stand (Hall 7 Stand B21) works of his may also appear –


Ango C13/D14

Never miss the opportunity to see examples of Ango’s production! Pictures cannot do justice to the magical effect of light passing through silk cocoons, rattan, intricate matrices of hand-soldered wire coated in nickel or gold.... Luxurious, yet also sustainable. The designs can be as radical as the materials, but there are also now small table lights that can be used anywhere. The excitement at this fair is to see the first lights made out of a material that Angus has been working on for years – sea weed....


We are so pleased that Bover are exhibiting in Paris! We only started working with them during 2011 but they have turned out to be an utter delight – a very good, very useful collection (e.g. the bedside lights), high standards of production,  charming helpful people, good packaging, punctual delivery. Good prices! So, for trouble-free specifying of attractive lights, start with Bover. Why can’t all manufacturers be like this....

Casadisagne I28

We know from statistics that most specifiers and buyers prefer to use Chinese-made lights in hotels. There are all sorts of reasons why this is surprising. Casadisagne is one of many good European producers (the factory is in Provence) that compete on price but which can also offer all the advantages of European quality, plus local, smaller run, shorter lead-time, more flexible production, by staff who are properly paid and looked after.

Mathieu Challières J38

It is no secret that Cameron Peters seeks out designers with a unique vision, and Mathieu Challières is a great example. Note the playfulness (e.g. his Petit Air de Campagne collection with birds and apples), and his use of colour (Les Diabolos – the answer when someone wants a “cheap” chandelier – these are not expensive, but they are real designs in their own right, that enchant grown-ups and children alike) and of white (see his series of large white plaster pieces).

Thierry Vidé Design I39

Another case where it is essential to see what they do for real (not just in pictures)  and what happens when you move around what they have created.  The material is pierced metal sheet that can be coloured and which, when used in layers, creates magical kinetic effects. Thierry and his sons, Jean-Sébastien and Félicien, use it to make the normal-sized lights that will be on their stand, but they can also create the most exciting, vast pieces (lights or sculptures) for large interiors or exterior use. No-one lese can design such large site-specific pieces that do not block out light, and which seem so weightless as to float.


Art et Floritude B21

You will primarily know this Loire valley-based family company for their traditional, bucolic designs of painted leaves and fruits (making chandeliers and wall lights based on olive branches, for instance), and beautiful small porcelain flowers. But at each fair they also show more contemporary designs in metal and porcelain. They are particularly strong in large custom pieces, working with India Mahdavi at the Connaught, for example.

Chelini H140

A Florence-based company working in wood, Chelini create not just lights but the mirrors, furniture, tables, beds &c. that allow you to create magnificent Italian interiors. There is also a contemporary, seaside villa-orientated collection designed by Michele Bönan, to which some or all of their stand may be dedicated( ).


CTO are well-known to UK-based specifiers, of course. But that is specifically why the chance should be taken to update oneself with what they are doing. For example, interior designers in London like lampshades so they do a lot of these. But they are also introducing ranges of 1960s-influenced designs (like the Array collection) and also, with Big Bulb, authentic designs from the 1960s and the 1970s – with no lampshades!

Day Glow D91

A very good source for lampshades, either bespoke, or on the simple bases that you will see here. Like (most of) our suppliers, a nice person – we think it morally responsible to give our business to nice, sensible, fair people, plus, if there are problems, they will easier to deal with.

Fortuny/Venetia Studium D129

Best known for the magical hand-painted silk creations of Fortuny, they are also now exploring other designs by him that are more functional than decorative. The results are wonderfully sculptural pieces. The detailing and quality of production are amazing, so don’t waste the opportunity to see them (e.g. the Studio 1907 Tripod floor light) up close and personal.

Lieux D71

Another delightful, playful French collection with small birds on wires, &c. You may find lights that have intrigued you in magazines, but you didn’t know who made them. And he now has a web site!

Mat & Jewski D78

Hervé’s creativity is also unique, and bold, so this is a stand that always surprises (usually in a good way!). But our favourite works of his may be amongst his earliest – the fantastic feather pieces.

MEE srl Murano 041 B13

Mee Murano 041 is the real deal: people of Murano, who have come together on Murano, to create a firm responsible for some of the most extreme experiments in Venetian glass. Their designers include Aristide Najean ( ) who has been working with glass on Murano since 1986 and who has created inter alia for MEE the amazing Niagara – a frozen waterfall in glass.  Not to mention the writhing, snake-like Rovere Bosco – explosions of black glass with gold and red.

Melograno Blu D111/E112

The Cameron Peters team have loved the work of Massimo and Ermanno since the day we opened. The fabulous Opera range has now been joined by the Hydra range. Whereas the former have lamps inside them, the latter are lit from above. This allows a delicious effect of water running down a coloured thread (plus their use in damp areas). Their stands are always amazing!

Objet Insolite E33/F34

Dark bronze structures with cream (or other single colour) shades, this collection, though very French and frequently specified for hotels and restaurants, is particularly well-suited to cottages and barn conversions. See the unique decorative outdoor lights.

Ochre C45

Like CTO, well known to UK-based specifiers yet still worth a close look, partly to catch up with their new items, but also to appreciate the range of materials, sympathetically used.

Saint-Louis F107

Saint-Louis is one of the greatest names in French crystal. Their catalogue collection of chandeliers is not huge, but it is diverse, so this is an important opportunity to see what they do, and also to discuss custom pieces.

Tekna H139

Under the Tekna umbrella are two brands -- both totally different from each other and both the best in their own field. Flat comprises the best recessed spot lights. The lamp is higher than the level of the ceiling. The non-reflective baffles provides a better spread of light, while ensuring that there is no glare. There are rimless versions for the most visually minimal installation. One downlighter looks very much like another in a picture, of course. You must therefore take the opportunity afforded by this stand to experience how much the Flats improve on the performance of standard downlighters. Nautic is a series of retro designs, some with a nautical flavour (hence the name). But they are also totally up-to-date with their technology (e.g. the use of LEDs) and thought is always given to preventing glare. An essential collection.

Villiers Brothers E45

An English company determined to “...create beautiful and strikingly different pieces of furniture to the highest quality.” And, from their images, they do. We are looking forward to this opportunity to meet them and to look closely at their work. They have a good, small contemporary classical lighting range within their total collection, that stresses fine metal working.


& Tradition A49/B50

&Tradition (née Unique Interieur) supplies classic Scandinavian designs by people like Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton, but also by interesting current designers like Victor Vetterlein. The result is an eclectic, high calibre collection that should not be missed.

Anglepoise B19

This is one company that needs no introduction to a British audience! However, it is important to keep up-to-date with the full choice from makers whose collections we think we know well. For example, would we remember that there is a cute little wall version, in colours, of 1228? Or mini versions of the Type 75, also in jolly colours (great for children’s rooms)?

Anthologie Quartett A25/B26

Nobody is more committed to design than Rainer and Michael! From a beautiful moated castle in Germany, they bravely put into production the most exciting, sometimes extreme, most diverse range of products. Visit the stand to see the collection, because it is very difficult to convey the variety and quality just using catalogues. Their lighting (only a part of their total collection) ranges from the umbrellas of the Flying Robert to one of the best-known, and most copied chandelier designs in history: Cellula.

Baccarat C63/D64

If you have never been, do visit if you can their museum and showroom on the Place des Etats-Unis,  created for them by Philippe Starck; one of the most extraordinary interiors anywhere, it is certainly vaut le detour! However, they also exhibit at the January Maison & Objet where additions to their chandelier families can be seen, as well as smaller items like as table lights.

Bloom! C89

Rob and his wife invented the idea of the outsize illuminated flower pot that can be used for flowers, or trees, or Christmas trees, or packed with ice and filled with lager... But see also their small outdoor portable lights, and Ornametrica, their mathematical, expanding indoor chandelier.

Brokis A113/B114

We have not yet worked with the Czech company Brokis but we, like others, have been impressed during 2011 by the internet coverage of some strong designs – particularly the ubiquitous Muffin, designed for them by Dan Yeffet and Lucie Koldova. Certainly one to watch – it is great that they are coming to Maison & Objet, and so making it easy for us to do so!

Céline Wright C26

The charming Céline Wright is French – her English name comes from her English father. No-one makes lighter pieces then she: floating shapes – large and small – from paper, often suspended from the most delicate structures, that may be complemented by the use of a pebble to provide weight. The detailing is really good as well: when a shape is built up from many small pieces of paper, each piece is positioned carefully. This matters, because their arrangement is part of the effect -- as light shines though them, the pattern is revealed.

DCW Enterprises C70

DCW Enterprises have been responsible for arguably the most important re-edition of a classic task light, the French La Lampe Gras from the 1920s. Seduced by its modernity and its practicality, it was used by legendary characters who were amongst those most responsible for the aesthetic of the 20th century – Le Corbusier, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Eileen Gray, George Braque... It is beautifully made, in a variety of typologies (table, wall, floor). It is one the few lights that is so important that there is a monograph dedicated to it!

Delightfull E97/F98

Delightfull, linked to the (very different) Portuguese furniture company Boca Do Lobo (, has been popping up at shows in London and elsewhere. It is always a pleasure to find them, because the collection is of intelligent, well-made, fun 1950s-influenced designs. There is a panache, an enthusiasm about them  which is infectious.

Dix Heures Dix D10

The best source of large, fabric freestanding lights, of course, but do visit their stand to remind yourself of the other things that they do, and that you may not expect from them – for example, the Koon chandelier and the Infini floor light. For this show, they are promising new materials, new designs, new lighting concepts....

Ex Novo C103

Exnovo are the Italian distributors of Freedom of Creation (FOC), so on this stand you’ll find FOC’s products. For the quality of design, as much as through their pushing ever further the bounds of what is possible using 3D printing technologies, it is always worth seeing what they are up to. Maybe, as in Milan last year, there will be a working 3D printing machine to marvel at!

Goodbye Edison D102

A new collection of high quality LED lights, launched at M&O twelve months ago. Their Frame is a neat, simple idea: a table light shaped like a frame, with LEDs at the back that would illuminate any picture on the wall behind it, and which would be visible through the frame (though the effective angle of vision is probably as restricted as it is for 3D TV!). The rest of the collection continues in this language of minimal forms holding (and made possible by) LEDs.

Innermost C83

A collection that needs little introduction, that justifies one’s keeping up-to-date with what they do, especially as they work with various designers, using innovative materials in interesting ways – there is no such thing as a “typical” Innermost product! This will be the first chance to see their Small Fillet, half the size of the Ø80cm Fillet.

Kalmar D97

Vienna-based Kalmar is one of the great names in lighting. They have been around for 130 years and have had the great idea to raid their archives to create a family of authentic 20th century designs, which they  have branded Kalmar Werkstätten, and which they will be showing here on a beautiful panelled stand. The workmanship is of the highest standard – an essential stand to see!

Lahumiere Design C32

A small (but growing) collection of clever, interesting contemporary lights, usually made from metal sheet, sometimes with a 1960s feel. See also the very minimal, sculptural Albedo.

Lasvit A113/B114

One of the companies to emerge from the post-communist Czech glass industry, and the one making the biggest splash at various trade shows, with their large and interesting custom pieces. They also have a catalogue of standard items like the neat little Glitters family. And “Lighting Sculptures” like Olgoj Chorchoj’s Lipka Tree and Growing Vases by the Japanese designer, Nendo.

Le Deun Luminaires D20

We have been fans of Jean-Luc’s work since we opened. He has been working with LEDs since 1997 – i.e. longer than almost anyone in decorative lighting – and the journey has thrown up some fascinating designs along the way. His current collection is based on simple geometric shapes – circles, squares, cubes – with LEDs around their insides. Very practical, very strong, very minimal, very well made.

Lumen Center Italia D82

Lumen Center Italia is a long-established company with a fine collection that includes classics like the sculptural Quadro (updated last year) and strong interpretations of standard shapes, such as  Iceglobe – yes, another translucent globe, but theirs is made of a more interesting material than most. They have rather faded from view recently, not helped by their not being on Architonic, of course, so it is great to see them exhibiting at Maison & Objet, a show that few contemporary Italian lighting companies support.

Miranda Watkins Design B89/C90

Miranda Watkins’ Random lights comprise leaves of various translucent materials hanging independently around a bulb. This is the starting point, though: she will do bespoke lighting installations, adapting the scale, finish and materials to the space.

Moustache B37

Not essential for lighting fans, really, but they do jolly things, starting with their home page. The interest for us is the Vapeur family, designed for them by Inga Sempé (yes, the daughter of the brilliant cartoonist!) – generous, informal, playful chef’s hat shapes.

Muuto B63/C64

A Danish company with a lighting collection that displays the classic strengths of Scandinavian design: strong simple forms that make the most of the nature of the materials from which they are made, e.g. wood (Wood Lamp), felt (Under The Bell), glass and a carbon filament lamp (Cosy Ingrey Lamp).

Slamp E111/F112

There are two ways to look at Slamp. Cheap plastic lights? Or very good value lights, made out of materials like Opalflex® and Cristalflex®, that have been developed specifically for use in lighting? The designs are good too, coming from people like Bruno Rainaldi (who also designs for Terzani), Nigel Coates (now Slamp’s art director) and Alessandro Mendini.

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