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Norway, often overshadowed by the proximity of Scandinavian powerhouses like Sweden and Finland, has been producing an impressive number of promising young designers in recent years. Foremost amongst them is Magnus Pettersen, the Sarpsborg-born (yup, that’s in Norway) designer who established his studio in London after studying Product & Furniture Design at Kingston University and Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins. Still, it wasn’t until early 2011 that Pettersen designed his first product, a wildly popular table lamp that was immediately picked up by a yet-to-be-named manufacturer when it debuted at London Design Festival that year. It’s currently schedule to retail in Fall 2013.
Since then Pettersen has designed a new lamp called Beacon that takes its design cues from lighthouses. Though the connection isn’t immediately apparent, Pettersen explained how he “wanted to find a way to reflect a warm light from an energy efficient bulb, which can seem very cold.” The inspiration for his furniture series, which he took from industrial lockers, is a little more obvious. Available in ash and aluminum, the chest of drawers, sideboard, credenza, and side table are typically Scandinavian in their focus on manufacturing and simplicity of materials, yet also completely new in their use of shiny gold metal.
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Craft System, the new lighting collection by François Chambard of UM Project, might just be the most imaginative interpretation of a lamp I’ve ever seen. When all the lamps are lined up side by side they look more like characters from a children’s story – think Wall-E’s progeny – than even the most inventive lighting on view at WantedDesign during NY Design Week. François describes the collection as one basic form with multiple variations. The most basic variation in the system, the Atum Lamp, has a Corian base in black, grey or white with a shade of either a fabric mesh or powder coated satin brass. There are two options for the light source, either an LED grid or four small incandescent light bulbs (both are operated with a built-in dimmer switch), and you can choose the table top variety or make it into a floor lamp with a wooden ash base.
But the similarities end there. The other variations François has come up with turn the basic lamp into a clever and playful lighting device with a prominent second function, like growing a plant or playing the theremin, that strange, UFO-sounding electronic rod instrument. Some other variations have a packed grid of tiny light bulbs or a brightly colored shade. The variations are only as limited as your imagination, and I know François is currently cooking up a few more ideas.
His other work has what you might call more standard applications, but whether he’s designing a small Milking Stool or an entire sound recording studio, his meticulous attention to material and craft and his unique combination of modern technology and handmade elements remains constant. See all his work and check out my visit to his Brooklyn studio.
Photos by Francis Dzikowski/Esto
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The CONST Lamp by Thailand-based Thinkk Studio first struck me with its odd mix of materials and shapes. An octagonal base is anchored only by the weight of a hunk of marble with a stepped-out, ridged design for holding pens and pencils. I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I like that it incorporates elements of play – not just the call back to handmade wooden toys but the motion of adjusting the lamp feels a bit like playtime. And now, after coming back to it every day for the past few days, I have to say it really delights me. I love that it’s technically a marble lamp that’s the complete opposite of everything else a marble lamp has ever connoted. Moreover, it’s so different from every other desk lamp I’ve seen lately. It’s not sleek. In fact, it’s clunky, and this is probably the first time – for me, anyhow – that clunky isn’t a bad thing at all.
If you’re in Milan you can see it for yourself at At Spazio Rossana Orlandi. From the designers:
“The main idea behind the desk lamp CONST are three basic components; base, body and shade. Keeping in mind these simple elements and their role, The design playfully combines expression with function. The marble base keeps the octagon-shaped wood body balanced and at the same time, one can adjust the angle of the shade by rotating it. Reminiscent of playing with block toys, CONST gives one the ability to have fun with functionality.”
Stockholm-based studio Claesson Koivisto Rune have an impressive showing at Milan Design Week, with over twenty projects being exhibited at thirteen different booths, but out of all their impressive work that includes furniture as well as architecture, I like Ray, the LED pendant lights made for the Dutch retailer NgispeN.
Named after the rays of a sun in a child’s drawing, the shade is laser-cut from thin metal that can be bent or adjusted into a variety of angles. Clustered tightly together, the light will focus strongly on one point, but open up the rays and you get a softer effect. The lights look great clustered together in one color as well as in multiple shades (I smell a restaurant interior…) or alone. Even though this takes its inspiration from children’s drawings, I could really use something bright and cheerful in my grown up apartment. Let’s hope NgispeN makes them available to the public soon.
You can see the light at NgispeN’s booth as well as the Temporary Museum for New Design in Superstudio Piu. [ claesson koivisto rune ]