LONDON, United Kingdom – From a ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ of bulbs, to an explosion of neon colors and shapes that move like an underwater reef, the ten winning designers at the Lux Craft Show in London all exhibited the elements that make light matter in technology, and in our lives.
Innovation with light, color and material, matched with an almost obsessive attention to detail, were essential qualities that judges were looking for at Lux Craft, a new lighting showcase at the Origin Craft Fair supported by Nokia Design.
Works submitted for selection at Lux either included light-emitting sources, such as lamps, or celebrated the beauty of forms and surfaces when lit.
“We got the first idea for the Lux Craft Show in the aquarium,” said designer Hsiao-Chi Tsai, who’s work with Kimiya Yoshikawa is already well known for combining bold color and modern synthetic materials. “We realized, that fish glow in the dark, and that watching them is therapeutic. But we also wanted to use modern materials like shiny neon Perspex and matt neoprene.”
The pair stared working together as postgraduates in Mixed-Media Textiles and Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 2006. Since then some of their public work has been on display in Taiwan and London. (A large Chinese dragon is still on display on a building on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Wardour Street in London’s Soho. If you’re passing – look up.)
Their Aquatic Flora exhibit on display at Lux is a “bouquet of alien botany”, with giant multi colored stamens floating overhead. Tsai said:
“We wanted to create something surreal and other-worldly.”
Nathan Wierink’s ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ crawls across the ceiling in a green mesh of interlocking aluminum pipes and copper lighting hoods – like a carefully crafted industrial fairytale:
“We make everything for in and around the house and a lot of our inspiration comes from fairytales. This was combined with the sense of light growing like a plant – a beanstalk. It starts off at the source of the electricity then spreads around the room to where ever you want it.”
Working with his partner, Tineke Beunders, Nathan wanted to create something still tied into everyday life for the Lux Craft Show: “The lights themselves are white energy saving bulbs, because that’s what everyone uses in Holland. But the copper hoods give them that nice yellow glow.”
German designer Johannes Hemann creates his work in a wind tunnel, “like a candy-colored snow storm.”
Johannes blows different materials into a box with a glue-covered stick and light hood in the middle, “It grows organically, like the snow piles up in winter. The calm before the storm, and then the calm after the storm.
“The studio-engineered storm at the Lux Craft Show has all the elements of nature; energy, wind, heat and cohesion. In the final design, a central bulb illuminates the different plastics and particles in random bursts of color and form.”
Niamh Barry’s design floats and reflects light in a series of hoops that looks, she agrees, like something you could wear on your wrist: “Yes, it looks like a piece made a woman.”
Niamh left design school and taught herself to weld, making one-off exhibition pieces, before moving away from the purely visual into producing work with function. She began working with light, and making table lamps:
“Light emits an energy – it’s alive in a way that a piece of furniture isn’t. It has an effect on the environment and it also changes depending upon the environment it’s in and how you perceive it.”
“I use an almost industrial process and quite traditional materials. This piece is made out of a steel structure with bronze and glass. But it’s ethereal and feminine. It has movement.”
The Lux Craft Show was held in London in September 2011.