cable lighting


Cini&Nils at lightjunction

Our fine lighting event, lightjunction, taking place as part of designjunction during the London Design Festival (17-21 September), has a very specific purpose. It is to increase specifiers’ awareness and understanding of high quality, relevant suppliers of decorative lighting. I'm highlighting some exhibitors in these posts, to give an idea of how the brands were chosen.CINI&NILS

Why learn about Cini&Nils?

Because brands can change. You think you know what they do, but they can develop in new directions. That is the case with Cini&Nils. Theirs seemed to be the purist of decorative lighting collections. Every model fulfilled a specific lighting requirement, or overcame a particular lighting problem. They were designed to meet that need in the best possible way.

The result was very efficient lighting, that also looked good because Form Followed Function.  The approach inevitably led to innovation. For example, theirs was the first mains-powered track system, the Tenso. Still available, still as elegant and versatile as ever, and still with the wide range of light bodies that can be used with it, 2014 saw the addition of the Tensoled:

The Tenso system allows lights to be put where otherwise they could not go: under a vault or a ceiling with frescos, or across a void:

Visit their stand at lightjunction to see the full range of possibilities presented by the Tenso system, and by its small brother, the miniTenso.

But now Cini&Nils are adding to their portfolio purely decorative designs (i.e. they are not created to meet a specific lighting requirement), though they still display an intellectual rigour.

One of the most spectacular is their FormaLa:

What you are seeing is a flexible strip that has LEDs on one side. You can curve it as you like:

Light fittings? Or Art…?

The concept is simple: its realization was not. Obviously, as the strip is bent, one side is stretched and the other side is compressed. Since it can be bent either way, both sides must be able to expand and contract. So a lot of research and development had to go into finding materials that could handle the stresses. Such installations can cover a lot of wall, spectacularly yet economically, creating a major impact, so you’ll want to discuss with them how you can use it.

Assolo explores what can be done with a circle, if one thinks beyond the standard horizontal ring pendant. What if one hung the rings vertically…

…or attached them to a wall, projecting outwards?

They found that they had a minimal, clean fitting — which created fantastic, large patterns. Such a simple way to articulate a plain wall or a ceiling:

There is even an outdoor version!

Having exploited (biggish) circles, Cini&Nils then decided to explore what could be done with (smallish) cubes. The result was the clever Cubismo:

There are two versions…


…that can be combined together to make larger installations.

The lower part is away from the wall and has the lamp behind it. The upper part, being flush to the wall, acts as the reflector. This, combined with the three angled sides of each of the cubes, results in striking chiaroscuro effects:

You can have any RAL colour for a quantity of fifteen or more.

But Cini&NilsCubismo is better seen  than described – another reason to visit their stand at lightjunction!

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lightjunction: Zero's fresh thinking

Zero Daikanyama suspended lighting systemlightjunction, our new fine lighting event, will be collocated with designjunction at the Sorting Office on New Oxford Street during London Design week, 18-22 September 2013

Here are two new designs that illustrate well what we expect from the Swedish company, Zero.

Daikanyama (above), created by Thomas Bernstrand is named after a district of Tokyo. The design echoes the patterns of overhead cables that you find in a Japanese street. They flow between walls and poles, usually directly from one point to another, so that the path of a single cable makes sense but, when combined, there is a pleasing irregularity about the resulting composition. For example, here is an intersection on the edge of Daikanyama:


Thomas Bernstrand has drawn on this image to create an unusually flexible system of overhead lights mounted on cables. They are quite big (see the figure in the image above) and, at the moment, there is no outdoor version. The light bodies are aluminium, painted red or yellow or orange or white or black:

Zero Daikanyama suspended light system black For Silo, Zero turned to one of today's hottest design practices, Stockholm-based Note Design Studio.

Zero Silo pendant lightThough small (Ø150mm H 235mm), the shape is based on something big, a grain silo, giving it an industrial feel -- how industrial depends upon the colour chosen: white, black, yellow or green. The power cable supplying the energy is an integral part of the composition: in the same colour as the shade, it enters at the side near the top, like the grain being fed into a mill. (Actually, to me it looks like a cider flagon.)

Zero Silo pendant light green

Zero Silo pendant light black

Here are some Silos playing grandmother's footsteps:

Zero Silo pendant lights in a group

lightjunction 18 22 September 2013


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Mario Melocchi, co-founder of Cini & Nils has died

Franco Bettonica and Mario Melocchi, founders of Cini&Nils Cini&Nils have announced the death of Mario Melocchi on Saturday, 9th February. He founded the company in 1969 with the architect Franco Bettonica, who died in 1999.

In 1958, Mario was the first person in Europe to focus on packaging design, moving subsequently into product design. The Company's early ranges were of accessories and furnishings, but in 1972, they produced the Cuboluce:

Cini&Nils cuboluce table light pentacolore

This is a light in a box. The lamp shines up onto the underside of the lid, which is mirrored. You can therefore angle the light how you like. To turn it on or off, you just open or close the lid -- no switch to grope for in the dark! It comes in many colours and finishes.

The result is hugely successful bedside light, selected to be in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art and now available in a LED version. It also brought about a change of direction for Cini&Nils. Now all their production is lighting.

Their collection is distinguished by a rare purity of conception. They add a light to the range only if such a light is needed. It will be designed to fulfil that need perfectly, even if that means means using innovative techniques.

The most famous example of this is Tenso, the world's first mains voltage cable system. Their patented connexions mean that it is the only such system that allows the lights to be reused. (Only the cable has to be replaced if a revised arrangement is required.)  The advantages are many; it is very easy to install and dim (since no transformers are required) and, since there are two circuits, the lamps on the cables can be put into two groups which can be switched and dimmed separately. The fittings are clean and elegant.

There are spots in all sorts of configurations:

Cini e Nils tensofariuno

Cini&Nils tensofariquattro


and a wide range of sources of ambient and indirect light:

Cini & Nils new tensogradi retinato

The spots and the ambient sources can be combined (and switched separately) to provide a single lighting solution that may otherwise have to be achieved in a more complicated, less sophisticated, way:

Cini&Nils tensofari-marieschi-gallery

They allow lighting onto, or under, a ceiling which cannot be pierced in order to accommodate light fittings, as in this installation for Gucci:

Cini&nils newtensogradi-opalescente-gucci-h

Here they are providing ambient light under a low ceiling that has beams:

Cini & Nils newtensoteli-nbi-embiade-veghel-nl-h

The line continues to be developed. Their latest innovation is an exterior track system, the tensEsterni -- no unsightly poles to wire up!

Cini e Nils tensesterni-sfera-opalescente-rust-1-01-b

Cini&Nils tensesterni-sfera-opalescente-neve-1-01-h (1)

Cini&Nils tensesterni-sfera-con-riflettore-rist-1-01-b

Cini&Nils don't only make cable systems. Here is just one example of the rest of the collection. It is Convivio, the one that is, in our market, the most popular at the moment-- justifiably, since it is a cracking light:

Cini&Nils pendant light convivio

It is a globe, Ø10.5cm, the top half in polished chrome or brushed nickel and the bottom half an optical  glass lens .

Cini & Nils convivio-sopratavolo-cromo-sat-b

What could be simpler? Or work better as a light fitting? Great as a row over a table or bar...

Cini&Nils convivo pendant light in a restaurant

...or over individual tables in a restaurant, bringing the light down to where it should be -- low on the table -- without blocking the ability of the courting to see each other:

Cini & Nils convivio pendant light

There is also a matching applique:

Cini&Nils convivio wall light

We think that the best way to celebrate the life of Mario Melocchi is to have another look -- a closer look -- at this exceptionally useful, well-designed and well-made collection.





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Outdoor track lighting for the first time! tensEsterni from Cini&Nils

Cini & Nile tensEsterni outdoor track lighting restaurantWhen Cini & Nils launched their Tenso system in 1994, it was the world's first mains (230V) cable system. At Light+Building this month, they showed another first: an exterior version. Suddenly, you can place lights where you could never have placed them before, or where you would have needed expensive and unsightly poles to put them on!

The image above shows the tensEsterni system in use over restaurant tables -- just lights, hovering in space where they are needed. The cables can be up to 200m in length, so long as they are supported (by a pole, a building, a tree -- they offer the necessary accessories) every 30m.

Cini & Nile tensEsterni sferaorientabile, cable-mounted spotBesides the cables, the main component is a sphere into which different types of lamp can be placed, depending upon what you need them to do. The picture in the restaurant garden uses an opalescent sphere (the "sfera opalescente") to create general ambient lighting. There are three other options, all IP65. The sphere in close-up above (the "sfera orientabile") contains a spot light that you can orientate within the sphere to point where the light is required. Here it is in use...

Cini & Nils exterior track-mounted spot light...and here are some other things that you can do for the first time:

-- provide directional lighting over a swimming pool (outdoors or indoors):

Cini & Nils tensEsterni exterior cable lighting over a swimming pool

-- light a small courtyard from the centre, not the walls:

Cini&Nils tensEsterni outdoor cable-mounted lights courtyard

-- light a path with a series of lights, each one of which would otherwise have to be on its own pole:

Cini & Nile tensEsterni exterior track lights snow-- put light over a lawn. (This is an example of the cables bowed down towards their centre. You can also have them perfectly taut -- horizontal):

Cini & Nile tensEsterni outdoor track lighting lawn-- put ambient light in a specific location in the garden:

Cili & Nils external trach lighting Lawn chairs on villa patioThe catalogue, with detailed technical and practical information, is available as a PDF here.

Cini & Nils TensEsterni outdoor track light

This is a spectacular technical breakthrough, which we hope will excite you to try new ways of lighting a garden, terrace, park or swimming pool. Let the world be your lobster!

(Note that Cini&Nils do not keep their data on Architonic up-to-date, so information on these lights will be missing from all the sites that use the Architonic Virtual Showroom, including ours.)

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