lightjunction: trend #3 -- modules that you can build up into compositions

vibia origami composition outdoors

lightjunction, 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

A completely new type of light is creating exciting possibilities!

Each design is a module that, when connected to others, forms a spectacular installation that can cover wide areas.

You decide where they go, so the result is site-specific.

The leading source is Vibia, who are offering modules for use on walls and ceilings, indoors and out.

This is such an important development in decorative lighting that we have asked Vibia to give a half-hour training sessions on it at lightjunction.

To understand what is happening, let's look at their Origami -- the light featured in the image above.

There are just two shapes...

Vibia Origami wall light shapes

...out of which you can make compositions on a wall and/or ceiling. They connect together electrically, so you only need one power supply. Origami can be used inside or out-of-doors.

That's it really, because the rest is up to you!

Here are some arrangements that others have done:

Vibia origami wall light composition

vibia origami wall light composition exterior

vibia origami wall light composition

And here is a a video that briefly shows how it is done:

The video introduces you to Vibia's Create Your Project (CREA), a free, easy-to-use software tool that becomes more exciting the more you get to know it. We'll cover it more fully in another post but, for now, understand that Vibia were responding to the fact that, whilst the possibilities of these compositions are huge, we are all likely to need a bit of help composing them!

We want to play about with different configurations, then, when we are happy with our design, our clients need to see what we have done, so that they can approve it.

Therefore, CREA produces a 3D simulation, which can show much more than just the Vibia composition. This is why it becomes such a useful tool. You can produce professional-quality 3D visualizations of your proposals without having to involve anybody else!

It also produces a installation manual specific to your composition.

If CREA helps if you are using Origami, it is essential if you want to make up something magical using Vibia's  Match!  This module could not be used if it were not for CREA.

It starts simply enough:

vibia match pendant light composition

but pretty quickly it grows into this:

vibia match pendant light composition

The way CREA works for Match is that you tell it what area you want lit. It then works out where the light bodies need to be, and presents you with a variety of suitable arrangements from which you choose. It is certainly worth it for results like these:

vibia match pendant light installation

vibia match pendant light installation

Here's another helpful little video:

Match is just one of Vibia's pendant-type modules. Others are Ameba, Halo Circular, Halo Lineal and Rhythm. For the ceiling, there are Link XXL and Link. For the wall, besides Origami, there is Fold Build-in, Fold Surface, Link and Puck Wall Art. You can find them all here.

Now, you're probably saying to yourself, that's all very well and good. Clearly Vibia are committed to this exciting new concept. But does that make it a trend?

Well, it wouldn't if only Vibia were doing it, but they are not.

We see the first example as being Foscarini's Fields of 2007:

Foscarini wall light Fields_White

Then, much more recently, Axo Light's Shatter:

axolight-lightecture-shatter ceiling lights

Flos Wall Piercing:

Flos Wall PiercingQuasar's Sparks:

Quasar Sparks system in a hall

and Luceplan's Synapse:

Luceplan Synapse installation

What do you say now, eh? Convinced?!

Training session at lightjunction 2013

As we said at the top of this post, this is such an important development in decorative lighting, and CREA is such a powerful, yet easy-to-use, tool, that we have asked Vibia to give a half-hour training session at lightjunction each day (except Sunday). So, whichever day you come, you'll be able to attend it.

lightjunction 18 22 September 2013


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Sharon Marston's wonderful installation in Clerkenwell heralds an exciting new direction

Sharon Marston Willow Installation - Order of St Johns [This is a repost. A technical glitch removed the previous version.] 

Sharon Marston had a very good stand at the May Design Series out at ExCeL...

stand at May Design Series 2013

...which showed the kind of work for which she is best known -- and which demonstrated yet again that she is the finest artist in the world working with fibre optic filaments.

But, during the same week, she had an installation at the Order of St John, as part of Clerkenwell Design Week, that was completely different.

Willow Installation - Order of St Johns - 2

Instead, of the main structure being cracked fibre optic filaments, with delicate shapes wafting through them, this time Sharon Marston has used willow branches that were woven together at her studio.

There are fibre optic filaments, but they are almost invisible: what they contribute is tiny points of light that animate the installation.

Sharon Marston Willow Installation - Order of St Johns - Detail 2

And what look like real flowers are in fact 5,000 woven brass mesh flowers, all made by hand, also in that busy studio.

Sharon Marston Willow Installation - Order of St Johns - Detail 1

The result was enchanting -- a real sense of rus in urbe -- and, in its echo of a flower-strewn bower made from one of the trees most commonly found in England, a link to an imaginary bucolic past.

The result was also sustainable: the willow grows so easily (if the cricket bat willows by our lake are anything to go by!) that, environmentally, this installation merely kissed the earth...

Sharon Marston Willow installation at the Order of St johns


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Sans Souci's crystal waters -- and the Power of Blue

Sans Souci Grotto crystal sculpture If you have the  right artists, the right technicians and the right equipment (all of which are still to be found in what was Bohemia, and to all of which Sans Souci have access), you can do the most amazing, fabulous things in crystal and glass -- which could not be done in any other medium.

The picture above is of Grotto, an installation designed by Hana Vitková. It is made from fused glass in various shades from clear to azure. If you want one, its appearance can be modified by using other colours and/or by different surface treatments, such as sand-blasting or painting.

Sans Souci Grotto glass and crystal installation by Hana Vitková

The glass stalagmites and stalactites can be shown as if in a cave,  surrounded by reflective metal plates that echo the reflection on the surface of the water in the cave.

In Marcela Vavrušková's Sea Wall, the effect of water is conveyed by a combination of fused and hand-blown glass components:

Sans Souci Sea Wall glass installation

Then, drops, bubbles and seaweed have been sandblasted or etched onto the back of the mirror wall:

Sans Souci Sea Wall glass wall

Hana Visková is also responsible for the ceiling-mounted Water Flower...

Sans Souci Water Flower ceiling installation

... in which glass granules are applied to the back of the glass leaves. From a distance, this gives the shimmering effect of water. The glass used is in various blue shades, from pale aquamarine to cobalt.

My theory is that people are drawn to the sea by of the Power of Blue. You'd give up your annual holiday and lots of money to go here, wouldn't you...

blue sea

...but you'd probably rather stay in the office than go here:

grey sea

Such is the Power of Blue -- a power that, thanks to glass (and the artists, technicians and equipment to which Prague-based Sans Souci give you access), you can harness for your projects, to lift the hearts of everyone who uses the spaces -- and to ensure happy clients!

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Milan 2013: Cini&Nils 2.0

Cini&Nils FormaLa wall light set As will become clear from these post-Milan 2013 posts, companies are responding to the current markets, which are difficult, and changing fast, in different ways. It is not always predictable who will respond in a good way, but we will be celebrating some who are.

Milan-based Cini&Nils is one of them. They are purists. they make a light fitting when such a light fitting is necessary. The requirement defines the luminaire -- how it functions, what it looks like, what it is made of. They make them very well. And there is space for beautiful detailing -- look at a particular favourite of ours, the Gradi Scrivania, for example:

Cini&Nils gradi scrivania table task lightAs a result, they have inspired passionate advocacy from the architects, lighting designers and interior designers who have understood them. This approach has also resulted in their being trail blazers, as the logic of a design has taken them where no-one has gone before -- the first 230V cable track lighting, for example.

The trouble is that most people choose a light by what it looks like, not by what it does. So Cini&Nils is reinventing itself (hence Cini&Nils 2.0) as it creates new designs that explore what is possible with LEDs.

For example, look at the picture at the head of this post. It is a composition made up from FormaLa, a flexible strip that has LEDs on one side.

Cini&Nils FormaLa wall light

You can curve it as you like. It will project light from one side, to contrast with the dark on the other.

Cini&Nils FormaLa wall light shapes

The result is bang on trend -- modules which allow dramatic effects over wide areas of wall and ceiling, depending upon the number and placing of the modules used. It will be available in four lengths -- from 138cm to 540cm.

Actually, it is bang on another trend as well -- lights which cast dramatic light effects on the surfaces around them, a trend that is also demonstrated by Naica, but with a different (random, ethereal) type of pattern:

Naica consists of 57 methacrylate rods with a square cross section arranged in a chequerboard pattern, perpendicular to the wall. The pattern in the image above is real, as is proved by this image of Naica in a real room:

Cini&Nils Naica wall light set

Of course, Naica's pattern may be too exuberant. What if you would like something more tightly disciplined? Like this, on a wall?

Cini&Nils Assolo as a wall light set

Or this, on a ceiling?

Cini&Nils Assolo wall ceiling light composition

Assolo is a simple idea -- a Ø20cm ring at right angles to the surface (wall or ceiling), with one 16W LED mounted shining back onto the surface. You can never look directly at it, so there is no glare). Have a look at this close-up picture:

Cini&Nils Assolo wall light ceiling light

Then, to show how ornamental they are prepared to be, here is Collier! How decorative is this?!

Cini&Nils Collier arrangement

Well, the answer is very decorative, of course (even when it is off).

But, being Cini&Nils, it is also clever -- a lot of thought has gone into it.

It is also modular. You start with one Ø32cm ring:

Cini&Nils Collier uno pendant light

Then you can keep adding more rings, one at a time (sort of). Here is one with three rings:

Cini&Nils Collier tre pendant light

There are two light sources. One shines down from the bottom,casting direct light onto the table underneath. The other creates diffused radiant light by shining through the rings, each of which is made up of 20 little methacrylate cubes.

A Cubist Caboche...?

So, whilst remaining true to the principles that underpin their heritage, Cini&Nils are greeting the new world of vanishing lighting retailers...smaller trends (modular, wall patterns) with creativity, originality and courage.

Cini&Nils are excited by light. So are Catellani & Smith. How many others are...?


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The Sparks system by Daniel Becker for Quasar

Sparks modular lighting system from Quasar in a all

Quasar will be showing in Milan their new Sparks system, designed for them by Daniel Becker. It is absolutely on trend, being a collection of components that can be plugged together to make installations of any size.

From the data sheet, you can see that only three shapes are needed....

Quasar Sparks lighting system data sheet

The connexion pieces have ball joints in order to maximize the range of possible angles. To these are added one of two lighting modules:

Quasar Sparks lighting modules

All the wiring is hidden and, since they plug into one another, only one electrical feed is required for most installations. Here is a close-up:

Sparks lighting system from Quasar detail

Each module has to be attached to the wall or ceiling, of course.

So, what can you do with it? Well, the world's your lobster, really. Here it is providing a light and airy differentiation between two spaces in a bank headquarters (Citibank in Singapore).

Quasar Sparks lighting installation Citibank, Singapore

You can put it over the reception desk in a hotel foyer -- here, the Adagio Hotel in Cologne:

Quasar Sparks lighting installation Adagio Hotel, Cologne

It can occupy that awkward space over a double flight of stairs (good quality LEDs mean that access for relamping is not an issue):

Quasar Sparks lighting installation over a stairwell

Though is fills quite a large space, it does it  without appearing to be too heavy -- and it does it economically! Such modular systems (the most extensive collection is from Vibia) are inexpensive ways to ornament large spaces.

You can put the Sparks system on a wall;

Quasar lighting installation on a wall

It can even go round corners...

Quasar Sparks lighting installation over two walls, round a corner

...which means that you can apply it where the surfaces are not flat. If you look at the picture at the top of this post, you'll see a beam running across the ceiling, but it is not interrupting the Sparks installation.

So, the German designer Daniel Becker has designed a very versatile, easy to use, economical, on-trend system capable of adding interest in a wide range of spaces, and of covering large areas.

Each light is one 6W 2700K Citizen LED.

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