light sculpture

lightjunction: trend #5 -- lights as ornaments

Northern Lighting Bake-Me-a-Cake table light 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

Let's face it, to most people, a light is still a base with a shade. But nobody told most of our suppliers! Lights can be anything: they can have shapes and meanings that justify their existence in their own right, whether or not they are very efficient as lights.

Take Bake Me A Cake (above), recently designed by Morten & Jonas for Northern Lighting. As you can see, it is a witty variation on the base'n'shade: a light that looks like a cake in a cake stand. But there is more to it than meets the eye. It is manufactured by the inmates of a Norwegian prison near Bergen. The aim is to create high quality production inside Norwegian prisons -- to challenge the inmates' ways of thinking and acting. So there is a social purpose, but also humour because, as we all know, files are baked into cakes for prisoners....

Artemide empatia table lightArtemide's Empatia table light also works fine as a light, but the interest is really in the interaction between the blown glass (used for centuries by Italians to make lights) and LEDs, the most contemporary of light sources.   The glass reflects and transmits the light without glare -- an elegant shape with fascinating properties to put on your side board.

Artemide cosmic leaf floor light

Lights as ornament don't only come as table lights. Also from Artemide, for instance, there is the Cosmic Leaf floor light by  Ross Lovegrove. As it stands, it is a beautiful sculpture: a carefully judged form made from a textured transparent methacrylate, chosen for the way that it plays with light.

LZF Air wall light


If lights can be ornaments -- works of art -- they can hang on the wall, like paintings, and be made out of almost any material. So, why not thin strips of wood veneer, smoothed into elegant, fluid  forms? This is what LZF do. Above is their Air, that also comes as a table light.

Brokis memory ceiling lights

Or you can hang your ornaments from the ceiling! Here are the ludic Memory lights from Brokis -- beautifully executed, and showing for the second time in this post that lights as ornament can also be witty -- the string of the balloon is also the pull cord on-off switch.

cto lighting lunar pendant light  large

Whereas CTO's Lunar is unabashed luxury -- an elegant abstract form in hand-rolled bronze with satin-finished brass.

So, remember, don't only think of lights when you are specifying light sources. They can do so much more. All the top designers have created lights and, for some unknown reason, a sculpture is a lot cheaper when it has a light in it. So they are bargains as well...



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Important new light sculptures from Niamh Barry, Johanna Grawunder

Niamh Barry light sculpture Falling Niamh Barry will be showing Falling, a plinth-mounted light sculpture on the stand of New York gallery Todd Merrill Studio Contemporary, in London at

masterpiece logoMeanwhile, Johanna Grawunder has an exhibition, wonderfully entitled No Whining on the Yacht, at the London showroom of Carpenters Workshop Gallery (at 3 Albermarle Street) from 24 June to 23 August 2013 (Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 18:00) that will include this:

Johanna Grawunder No Whining on the Yacht

They say:

With No Whining On The Yacht, Johanna Grawunder serves an atmospheric quest for well-being, inspired by her contemplation of nature; and shares the elusive beauty of colour.

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Ayala Serfaty: the artist behind Aqua Creations

Ayala Serfaty Clear wall light from the Soma series This is the Clear wall light of 2011 from Ayala Serfaty's Soma series. It is 203cm x 80cm and made of glass rods with a polymer skin. It is lot 158  at Sotheby's New York Important 20th century Design sale on Saturday. The estimate is $40,000 to $60,000.

This is the culmination of a year in which four of her pieces were acquired for museums. They included three other Soma Light Sculptures:  Wild (2009) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York's Collection of Contemporary Art...

Ayala Serfaty Wild wall light metropolitan museum of art new york

...Andrea's Trust (2006), donated by Charles Bronfman to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston...

Andrea's Trust floor light by Ayala Serfaty Boston Museum of Fine Arts

...and Joy of Transition (2012) commissioned for their permanent collection by the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC...

Ayala Serfaty Joy of Transition Soma light sculpture

Ayala's new web site is here.

Better still, do watch this video. Ayala explains what she is doing, and how. You get to see the Joy of Transition before the polymer skin is applied. I'd like to see this version too (and she herself is wistful about its being obscured. What do you think?

Why does her work matter specifically to Fine Lighting News readers?

Because it reminds us of the many great artists and architects who have designed lights and that by buying a light (in this case) from Aqua Creations, you are acquiring a work by an artist who is also represented in the permanent collections of the world's greatest museums.

Ayala Serfaty with Andrea's Trust light sculpture


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Sun Ra: the imposing light sculpture from Luminara

Luminara sun ra onyx table light Supposing you have a really important space -- a niche that closes a vista, perhaps, or a reception desk of a five star hotel, where the right impression has to be given -- what do you put there? Well, you may not be considering a light, but you should.

You're thinking that we would say that anyway. But we have our reasons!

The first is that it will already have a light in it so, unlike a sculpture, it does not need separate lighting.

The second is value for money. No matter how fine a sculpture may be, as soon as you put a lamp in it, it becomes just a light and costs 90% less. On average.

But the main reason is the sheer quality of what is available to you. All the greatest architects for over a hundred years have designed lights.

The imposing piece above is Sun Ra by Roberto Lazzeroni for Luminara. It is made from Persian white onyx and has a light encased in frosted glass inside the pierced chrome ball. It only costs €9,412 ex-VAT! Just think what you'd pay for an onyx sculpture of this quality!!!

Nevertheless, if your client cannot afford that, do not worry. There are other versions that exploit the quality of the woods from which they are made. And they are even cheaper!

Zebrano -- €2,397:

Luminara Sun Ra zebrano table light

Wengé (actually, oak with a wengé finish) -- €1,922:

Luminara Sun Ra wenge table light

And, still on Luminara's web site, but they haven only a couple left (so it will be a collector's item now), the paduk version:

Luminara Sun Ra paduk table light

The Sun Ras are W50cm H63cm D20cm. So, also ideal for a credenza or a console table.

Or for that place where you put your most precious things....

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Interieur Kortrijk finest light sculpture: Fragile Nature by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta

LONNEKE GORDIJN and RALPH NAUTA Fragile Nature Chandelier 3.1 There were two very strong contenders for this award, about both of which we have posted in the past. Galerie Gosserez had a very interesting display that included the blue version of Nymphéa -- see the post here. And Carpenters Workshop Gallery was showing Matheiu Lehanneur's S.M.O.K.E. -- see the post here.

But Carpenters Workshop Gallery were showing various examples of Studio Drift's Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta's Fragile Future, one of the most powerful works of art, or designs of a light, that we have ever seen. So this series wins the award.

Why? Two reasons.

First, they set up a series of dichotomies. The main structure is in bronze. It supports tiny LEDs to which dandelion seed heads have been attached:

LONNEKE GORDIJN ET RALPH NAUTA_Fragile Future chandelier detail

So we have:

the hardness of the metal against the softness of the seed head;

the permanence of the metal against the evanescence of the seed head (one expects the seeds to blow way any minute);

the urban landscape of the metal against the bucolic seed head;

the simple right angles of the metal against the complex rounded forms of the seed head.

This makes it sound as if Fragile Future is pulling itself apart -- and hard work to take in. But the power of the piece comes from the fact that the metal and the seed heads, in spite of all the dichotomies, are  in perfect harmony with each other. Since our future is fragile, the only way we can survive is if science and nature, town and country, work together.

Secondly, they are very beautiful.

In reality, the dandelion seed heads are much less obvious than they are in these pictures. You don't even see them at first. When you do, the effect is like the early morning sun shining through the mist.

So, beautiful, but also evoking the kind of place we'd all most like to be (according to a recent poll, what people say makes them happiest is a walk in the country).

If the rôle of the artist is to make living a little easier to bear, then being able to call up our deepest feelings of contentment, as Gordijn and Nauta are doing, well, they've cracked it!

It is better to show you how beautiful they are than to write about it, so here are some more examples of the Fragile Nature series. Site-specific versions can be made.

LONNEKE GORDIJN and RALPH NAUTA_Fragile Future Chandelier 3.2 set

LONNEKE GORDIJN and RALPH NAUTA Fragile Future 3.2 Chandelier b

There are also table versions...


...and wall versions:

LONNEKE GORDIJN and RALPH NAUTA_Fragile Future 3.5_01

But the best are suspensions, IMHO:

LONNEKE GORDIJN and RALPH NAUTA_Fragile Future Chandelier 3.1_02

For more information, contact the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, in Paris at 54, rue de la Verrerie in the Marais, or in London at 3 Albemarle Street in Mayfair. They have a Fragile Future 3 (the table version above) in their London office.

Oh, and they are obviously very good editors! They recently had an exhibition of work by Johanna Grawunder, and they are currently putting on shows of work by rAndom International in Paris and the Curve in the Barbican (the amazing Rain Room) . rAndom International have been thrilling fine lighting fans (and others!) since their 2007 show with Ingo Maurer during the Milan fair in the Spazio Krizia  .

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