Euroluce 2019; the view from the aisles

“I know you. You’re John Bullock!” Damn, I thought; the debt collectors have found me at last. But, no. It was an altogether more pleasant experience, taking coffee in the cafe of The Royal Festival Hall (everyone needs a London office, after all) with Chris Fordham – lighting designer and astute commentator on the state of lighting affairs. And from that chance meeting of minds comes Chris’ review of Euroluce 2019. Enjoy.

Coming back to Milan for the design fair in April; feels a little like the weather in Italy at this time of year, you never quite know what you are going to get. One thing for sure is that the city is transformed and for almost one week, Design rules. The Euroluce fair in Rho Milan, as always provides a vast selection of lighting, so I have given examples that I thought gave the best overall feel of the fair, and what, for me, was the stand-out product of the lot.

Catellani & Smith have a few new products of interest; the ‘Petit Bijoux’ is a pendant available from September, coming in 3 different sizes, with either 56,32 and 28 LEDs per luminaire. The inspiration is that of ‘static movement’ the effect of an action that seems to imitate the gesture of throwing a stone, into a pool of water. The 3 pendants are made from natural brass rings, and can be joined to be used as a single 3 tier pendant.

‘Petit Bijoux’ by Catellani & Smith
‘Petit Bijoux’ detail

The actual LEDs are covered in an extra clear silicone, and have been designed to give an even throw of 2700K warm white light, the material treated so as to not yellow. It is controllable through Casambi dimming.

‘Giulietta BE T’ by Catellani & Smith

This year’s Fair refreshingly had a number of wireless luminaires on show,. One that caught the eye, also from Catellani & Smith, was a prototype called the Giulietta BE T. The simplicity of the design is appealing, and the disk concealing the LEDs appears to ‘float ‘due to the way that the disk is supported. 3 light intensities are controlled by a simple touch of the hand under the disk, and the battery life is approximately 4hrs at max intensity: 20hrs at minimum output.

‘BUD’ by Innermost

With a very different take on many of today’s current luminaire offerings, and for me, a bit of a marmite product; innermost show their colourful ‘BUD’ table light for the first time at the fair.

The luminaire imitates nature; as the petal-like housing seems to hold and protect the light source. It has a retro 80’s feel, and put me in mind of the Italian design house Memphis, especially in respect to the 6 vibrant colours on offer.

It has been designed for innermost by Mellisa Yip, and is a playful tactile piece, a step away from the norm. It offers a three-step dimming function, and is turned on/off by depressing the bulb. Not your traditional luminaire, the product is cable free, and gives you a total of 5hrs light at 100% (100lumens) 20hrs at 20% output. Perfect as a bedside light, where you can just pick it up and take it to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or any outdoor picnic, beach. But please note that, at a mere IP20, the product would benefit from a higher IP rating – especially if you are in taking it out in the U.K.!

‘Elastica’ by Habit; Martinelli Luce

If playing with light is just your thing, Martinelli Luce has just the product for you, with their ‘Elastica’ by Habit,

The Elastica product comprises of a linear strip led light on one side, and elasticised fabric on the other, which comes in various colours. The product is stretched between the ceiling and floor, and can be dimmed or brightened by simply pulling the light; a similar motion also allows you to switch it off. With a heavy base to keep the product taut, the product is stretched to a length of 2.5m, and uses a 30W 2700K linear led giving 3960lumens.

‘Side by Side’ by Astro Lighting

Astro Lighting were showing an effective, hard-wearing, hotel bedside light for the first time at Euroluce, the ‘Side by Side’ . Its beauty lies in its simplicity, and it is designed by Co-Owner and Design Director James Bassant.

Referencing the traditional bedside fixed task lights typically available; he picked up on the point that you often need two separate products for each side of the bed, as you always want the focused reading light to be pointing to the inner side.

To overcome this James has designed the ‘Side by Side’ product so that by changing two screws on the back plate, it can swivel 180 degrees, meaning you only need to buy one product for both sides of the bed. The product offers two individually switched light sources a shade to create soft diffuse light and a micro-LED for reading.

Moto-flap by Forma Lighting

formalighting launch the curiously named Moto-Flap at this year’s Euroluce, from its Motolux range. Designed by Franco Mirenzi, you can see the uses for such a product in corridors, restaurants, foyers and bars, with the ability of the light to open 90°and rotate up to 355° thus changing the mood and feel of the space.

The light is controlled by a formalighting app powered by Casambi, and available in two sizes. The same app controls the colour tuning and dimming. Resembling a misaligned truncated cone, it is available in White or Chrome, and is powered by either 8W or 17W Citizen cob led with a CRI of 90.

‘Interweave’ by Artemide

Artemide‘s Interweave is, well, what it says on the tin, a roaming weave of LED light line, mounted to suspended cylinders. The great thing about having this flexibility is that you can truly create unique spaces, with each cylindrical module having multiple cuts into its body, allowing users to guide the light strip freely where best suits. These cylinders can be wall- or ceiling-mounted and additional luminaires can also be mounted into the base.

Following the trend nowadays for light sources to be so much more than just a light, Interweave allows for services to be mounted in specific cylinders, giving designers the possibility to utilise sensors for humidity and air quality, temperature, or even speakers with voice control. The cylinders come in two different diameters, Ø 60 or Ø 110   and two different lengths, the LED light gives a a total of 1000lumen and is 5000mm in length.

The highlight for me from this years Euroluce was Swarovski’s ‘Cyanometer’.  When you think of  Swarovski as a brand I think most people would agree that they have cornered the high end market for crystal, but it is always interesting to see  how such brands translate when they work with light, especially as they have a purpose made platform for designers to create luminaires, called the ‘Crystal Palace’ not to be confused with the South London football team!.

‘Cyanometer ‘by Swarovski

‘Cyanometer’ comes from Swarovski  ‘Designers of the Future’ winner Marjan van Aube. It is a piece of such sublime beauty that you just can’t wait for a chance to use it in a project.

Marjan makes studies into how sunlight hits objects and space, which is where the inspiration for this collection of luminaires comes from.

The name Cyanometer comes from an instrument used in the 18th century, to measure ‘blueness’ specifically the colour intensity of a blue sky, with gradients of shades of colour.

Swarovski crystal in the ‘Cyanometer’

There are four versions, wall, floor standing, and 2 different-sized pendant lights. All comprise of a circular ring of opal crystal which, due to the milky consistency, makes the light visible and diffuse. The back of the housing consists of a dimmable light ring to give some meaningful illumination.

The lights are pre-programmed with 4 different states, sunrise and sunset, a day program imitating the cloudiness of the sky, and one that cycles through all states.

The crystal front uses Osram RGBW LEDs, while the back disk uses full spectrum LED to provide a natural daylight appearance. Described by Peter Koppel (senior project manager)  as one of the most challenging designs made by themselves, every crystal is not glued in, but milled out at the back and manufactured to fit.

The LED is mounted at the base and reflected up into the crystal glass, which needs to be a specific length in order to prevent colour distortion.

The effect itself is very subtle. Sometimes the use of colour and colour-changing lends itself to luminaries that feel a bit ‘kitsch’ but in the high end market at which this product is aimed, it hits the mark. To quote Marjan van Aube, you end up with ‘sky in a stone’.

And that is all from our roving reporter for this exhibition. But we hope to be hearing more from Chris very soon as we make our way towards Clerkenwell Design Week.

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