by Jerry ElengicalSep 08, 2021
Over millennia, the human race has transformed the practice of illuminating spaces for habitation into an artform of its own - pushing the boundaries within the realm of illumination design as well as the craftsmanship involved in creating the luminaries themselves. At present, there are few places as packed with design innovation as Milan Design Week - occurring in its new hybrid Supersalone format. Currently approaching its climax, the world's largest and most reputed furniture fair is casting a spotlight on the wealth of global talent from various creative domains through a broad range of exhibitions, events, and auxiliary programming across the city of Milan in northern Italy. In light of the vast array of design luminaries displaying their innovative ideas at the festival, STIR identifies some of the most innovative lighting designs illuminating the stage at the 59th edition of Salone del Mobile.
1. Bon Bon Wall Lamp and Ornate Sconces by Bethan Laura Wood
To celebrate her decade-long affiliation with Nilufar Gallery founder, Nina Yashar, English designer Bethan Laura Wood is displaying her collection Ornate at Milan Design Week, alongside other celebrated designs from her extensive body of work. Ornate is a collection whose primary focus centres on the boudoir, drawing from Wood’s travels as well as the work of Alexander Calder and James McNeill Whistler. Eliminating the need for ornamentation, Wood uses an intricate geometric pattern as the basis for the Ornate sconce, referencing the copper fish of Venice, a Samurai Kabuto, and Mexican Art Deco. Made from CNC-milled anodised aluminium, subsequently hand assembled and punctuated with brass pin details, the sconce serves as 'contemporary jewellery for the home'. Alternatively, Wood’s Bon Bon wall lamps were developed during last year’s lockdowns, merging the bubbly curves of bonbon jars with combinations of milky and transparent glass. Consisting of a sickly-sweet confection of flowered sconces, mounted onto stems of brushed steel or brass, the lamps were developed with the aid of Pyrex artisan, Pietro Viero.
2. Hilow by Matteo Thun
Italian architect and designer, Matteo Thun’s Hilow modular lighting system of Italian lighting manufacturer Panzeri, posits a ‘simplification of complexity’ that allows it to be implemented in a range of contexts spanning from residential design to hospitality projects. Composed of a single unitised element fashioned from brass and die-cast aluminium that links horizontal elements in white, black, bronze, matte brass or titanium-poly acrylic paint, Thun’s design oozes a minimalist elegance that can be intuitively channelled to suit an assortment of configurations. The simple grid pattern is capable of functioning effectively in situations requiring both direct and indirect lighting, with an LED diffuser that minimises reflection.
3. Dreamy Forest, Mirage Chandelier, and Gem Light by Vezzini & Chen
Rossana Orlandi Gallery
London-based designer duo Vezzini & Chen are exhibiting a selection of pieces from their catalogue at Rossana Orlandi’s gallery in Milan, showcasing their distinctive nature-inspired style that marries hand carved ceramics, blown glass, and organic forms. The pieces on show include Dreamy Forest - a delicate ceiling-mounted light fixture composed of several hand carved porcelain ‘leaves’ mounted on brushed brass branches, inspired by the journey of exploring a leafy forest. Other designs on display include the ambitious Mirage - a light composed of hemispherical sconces of blown glass on a porcelain stem, as well as their Gem Light, which features an interplay between a layered hand carved ceramic core and an outer skin of protective glass.
4. 100 Pendant Light by Bocci
Via Santa Marta, 19A
Bocci’s new 100 pendant light collection is characterised by interlocking forms of curved glass, prepared by smashing molten glass bubbles in arbitrary ways. Omer Arbel, co-founder of the Canada-based design and manufacturing community states about the design, “We use a diamond saw to cut swaths off the bubble amalgamations after they cool, exposing the most fascinating parts of the geometry.” He elaborates, “For 100 we developed a method to make fascinating shapes but realised the most interesting complexity remains hidden inside the volume.” Showcased at an intimate apartment setting that belongs to Nicolas Bellevance-Lecompte - founder of Carwan Gallery in Greece, the collection is accompanied by a curated set of objects designed by Arbel.
5. Snake Lamp by Khaled El Mays
As part of his Jungle show at Nilufar Gallery, Beirut-based designer, Khaled El Mays' Snake Lamp stands out for its eerily playful appearance, that captures the slender beauty of the serpentine form and transforms it into a useful and tactile lighting fixture. The floor lamp, made of French oak and leather, tells a story within the ensemble of biomorphic objects designed by El Mays, envisioning the possibility of a primitive future for furniture design that places craftsmanship and skill - embodied within the human hand at its core.
6. No Title Lamp by Mayice Studio
Rossana Orlandi Gallery
Reminiscent of long ethereal candles, No Title Lamo by Madrid-based Mayice Studio resulted from a study of the behaviour of light, which culminated in a fixture consisting of a single cylindrical tube of glass, containing another white-painted glass tube which hosts the light itself. Handcrafted to delicately light up its surroundings, the design creates an intriguing play of light and shadow within a space, by means of a series of internal reflections.
7. Lady V Collection - Villari SRL
Rho Fiera Milano
Italian luxury design brand, Villari SRL, is launching its new collection at the Rho Fairgrounds in Milan for the occasion of Supersalone 2021. Among the product designs on display is Lady V - a collection inspired by the classic glamour of Hollywood, reinterpreted for contemporary tastes. Described by the designer as an embodiment of the elegance of female celebrities from the previous century, the fixture is made of Murano glass, porcelain, and 24-carat gold. A visually striking design available in colour schemes of pink and dark grey, Lady V is a jewel to be admired for its delicacy and serene beauty.
8. Milky Way Collection for Fragments of Infinity by Giopato & Coombes
Giopato & Coombes Gallery
As part of their Fragments of Infinityproject for Milan Design Week, Treviso-based studio Giopato & Coombes are showcasing their latest Milky Way collection of light fixtures at the Giopato & Coombes Gallery in Milan. Imagined by the designers as ‘harmonic creations that combine linearity and fluidity', the collection includes pendant lights, chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling fixtures made in light and solid aluminium, resembling a metal ingot, housing a light source shielded by cathedral glass. Geometric light rings and shapes made in marble add to the play between vertical and horizontal lines, crafting a design that effectively balances poetry and functionality.
9. Manhattanhenge by Cini & Nils
Rho Fiera Milano
Reinterpreting the silhouetted sights of New York's skyscrapers at sunset, Cini & Nils' Manhattanhenge(Manhattan Solstice) collection of freestanding luminaries is made entirely of sheet metal, equipped with a dimmer feature for diffused decorative illumination. Consisting of two arced discs housing a light source within an opalescent diffuser screen, the table lamp evokes the image of the sun aligning with the horizon and permitting light to filter through the skyline of Manhattan.
10. Circle Lamp by Bontempi Casa
Rho Fiera Milano
Blending the functionality of a floor lamp with the form of a metal sculpture, Circle Lamp by Bontempi Casa consists of a semi-circular metal arch that is melded into a concrete sphere. A dimmable LED light band occupies the centre of the arch, with a switch fixed to the structure's external edge.
11. Lunae by Gianfranco Marabese for Antonangeli Illuminazione
Rho Fiera Milano
Recalling the image of the lunar cycle, the Lunae lamp by Gianfranco Marabese for Antonangeli Illuminazione features a fibreglass diffuser with a backlit material surface settled atop a brass-painted structure. The design's reflective and rotating cap generates variations in the projection of light to recreate the phases of the moon.
12. Bunch by Stefano Santilio for Enrico Pellizzoni
Rho Fiera Milano
Designed by Stefano Santilio for Italian vegetable leather goods manufacturer Enrico Pellizzoni, Bunch is a suspension lamp on display at the Rho Fairgrounds at Supersalone as part of the company's dedicated exhibition. Made of lasered leather diffusers with a matte white-painted interior covering, the lamp can be customised in an array of colours to complement any interior setting, according to the designers.