by STIRworldMay 03, 2023
Italian lighting brand MM Lampadari's latest collaboration with Milan-based designer Serena Confalonieri has a name that comes from a land far away from the fashion capital of the world. Derived from the Arabic word 'layla', the lamp design evokes warm and enchanted nights. Layla, the new table lamp designed by Confalonieri, is hand blown and characterised by curvy and cosy shapes. Her lamps are on display at Contemporary Cluster, in the prestigious location of Palazzo Brancaccio in Rome from November 5, 2022 until January 7, 2023. Entitled Burning Bright, this is the artist's first solo exhibition. It presents her colourful and dreamy style through different rooms and different products.
The title of the exhibition refers to William Blake’s poem The Tyger. Blake was interested in exploring the concepts of widening perception, an idea that has inspired and informed Confalonieri’s creations. Drawing on another admirer of Blake's poetry, English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley’s research—on perceptual alterations, resulting from the use of psychedelic drugs and accompanying the viewer on a vibrant and colourful journey, where sight and all other senses are overstimulated by strong colours and kaleidoscopic patterns—the exhibition presents a path that narrativises the designer’s work based on the perception of colour.
From pouffes to placemats, plaids to rugs and more, the exhibition displays varied works by the designer. One can find Confalonieri’s Layla lamps in the seventh and last room of the exhibition. The Starlight wallpaper by Wall & Decò, in a custom version, forms the backdrop of the lamps. Designed specifically for Burning Bright, the wallpaper evokes a constellation of flashing stars, leaving a door open to the infinite creative universes the designer faces, giving life to functional objects characterised by a continuous search for new expressive languages.
The finishes chosen by the Italian designer for Layla diversify the upper part, which is transparent and monochromatic, from the lower one, which is opaque and striped. The lamp, thus, becomes a lighting body. While the light in the upper part is more direct and filters through the tinted transparent glass, the opaque glass in the lower part allows only a part of it to pass, turning it into a translucent body. The result is a kaleidoscopic mix of colours, a perfect dialogue between form and decoration.
Its shape is reminiscent of old oil lamps and nightstand lights, warm and reassuring objects that give the room an intimate atmosphere, recalling a domestic imagery. The name ‘Layla’ derives its name from the Arabic word laylah which means 'night' and suggests the usage of the lamp in the most intimate spaces: it keeps us company until the moment of sleep.
The images shot for the collection’s launch, under Serena Confalonieri’s art direction, interpret the concept—recreating a world between reality and dream, referring to ethereal and surreal atmospheres.
Serena Confalonieri, a designer and art director based in Milan, works on product design, graphic design, and textile design projects and collaborates with various Italian and international companies. Her works, lying between the realms of product and graphic design, are guided by an accurate research on surfaces. After a Masters Degree in Interior Design, she started her career by working in many architecture and design practices in Milan, Barcelona, and Berlin, collaborating with the Interior Design Faculty of Politecnico di Milano as an Assistant Professor. In 2013, she made her debut at the Milan Design Week with her Flamingo rug, produced by Nodus. Over the years, she has been selected for design residencies and workshops in Italy, New York, Mexico, and Portugal, her works have been published by prestigious newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Corriere della Sera, Il sole 24 ore, Wallpaper, Interni, Ottagono, L’Officiel, and Elle Décor, among others. She has also won prizes such as a Special Mention at the Young&Design Awards 2014 and at the German Design Awards 2016. Her works have been exhibited at various important locations such as La Triennale di Milano and Rossana Orlandi gallery.