wall washer

Milan 2013: FontanaArte power ahead with top designers, new materials, new typologies

FontanaArte Odeon table light by Studio Klass Yes FontanaArte's rebirth continues at Euroluce with a virtuoso display of new lights from top design studios, using unusual materials, and creating new types of light.

A case in point is Odeon by Studio Klass. It is designed to sit on a table (or a floor) with the side out of which the light comes facing a wall, so that it creates reflected, shadowless, ambient light -- a new type of light. It could light up a dark corner. This is what it looks like if you turn the lit area towards you.

FontanaArte Odeon table light Studio Klass

You see the little tag on the back? That is so that you can pick it up easily. When you do, you will be struck by how light it is for something that is H64cm. That is because the main structure is made out of expanded polystyrene. And, as if that is not an unusual enough material, it is then covered in leather!

Being an Italian leather product, it is the finest leather, beautifully finished and  stitched -- in fact, so good is it that it evokes the finest English leatherwork -- of Rolls Royces and Edward Green shoes.

FontanaArte Odeon wall washer Studio Klass

Expanded Polystyrene is used again to form the main body of Yupik, designed for them by designers of the moment, Form Us With Love. Making lights out of wacky, disposable materials is a yawn-inducing student project usually, but for Yupik it really works. I think that is partly because of how well it is executed -- not just the body, but also the diffuser, which is a beautifully crafted, curved polycarbonate lens:

FontanaArte Yupick light by Form Us With Love

Nor is the expanded polystyrene body just a gimmick. The idea is that you can use this light in a variety of ways:

FontanaArte Yupick light by Form-Us-With-Love

You might tie it up loosely and occasionally use it as a torch:

FontanaArte Yupick light Form-Us-With-Love

in which case, the lightness, the resistance to scratching and being scratched -- even the warmth in the hand -- are all attractive features.

Ferréol Babin's Lunaire wall light is unusual in that the amount of light that it casts is directly affected by the user moving the centre part in or out, like a drawer -- a reworking of Carlo Forcolini's Light-Drawer for Oy Light. You can see the drawer both in and out here:

FontanaArte Lunaire wall light by Ferréol Babin

By making the whole applique round, rather than rectangular, it allows soft, elegant light effects whether the drawer is in...

FontanaArte Lunaire wall light by Ferréol Babin

or out:

FontanaArte Lunaire wall light by Ferréol Babin

The centre can be black or white.

After such revolutionary designs, Andreas Engesvik's Blom probably looks a bit conventional -- a jolly, colourful, table light:

FontanaArte Blom table light by Andreas Engesvik

Well, it is, but there is more to it than that. The colourful metal parts are like the petals of a flower, or cupped hands holding something precious:

woman-holding-a-sunflower-bloom-in-cupped-hands-chris-steinThey are also functional. They can be rotated to allow only uplight, or to allow light out on just one side:

FontanaArte Blom table light by Andreas-Engesvik

The only disappointment on the FontanaArte stand was The Albedo pendant light...

FontanaArte ALBEDO pendant light Studio-Drift

...which turned out to be by one of our all-time-favourite design teams, Studio Drift! (See our rave review of their Fragile Nature here.)

But this is not a tragic fall to earth -- rather, what we were seeing were prototypes .They are constructed by hand, from a very light material, in a series of panels that all come together at a single point, at the bottom.

Different versions looks better resolved at this exhibition held at the GEM museum of contemporary art in The Hague...

Studio Drift at GEM

...but the simpler Albedo will probably prove to be more satisfying when the design is  fully resolved.

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