The tough get glowing

Despite Germany’s protracted recession, exhibitor turnout at Frankfurt’s Light & Building exhibition was strong. Carl Gardner looks at the shining examples of lighting innovation on display

More conventional was the Campbell glass pendant fitting from Louis Poulsen, where two layers of blown, sandblasted glass work together to bend and deepen the light emanating from within. Less traditional materials were also in evidence – such as the Post Krisi collection by Catellani & Smith. This range uses torn, frayed pieces of glass fibre and simple mains voltage tungsten lamps to create a striking series of lamps with a slightly fractured feel. It’s a highly imaginative piece of improvisation – as was the standard lamp from Swiss company Belux, called One by One, designed by Steve Lechot, which wraps a 1.5m stack of ‘paper’ sheets around a hidden fluorescent tube. Shades of Frank Gehry’s famous cardboard chair, perhaps? Another twist on the pendant fitting, this time in white polypropylene, comes in the form of Mouette from Artemide, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. This looks like a floating wing, internally lit by four T5 fluorescent lamps.

Finally, there was colour aplenty at Frankfurt. There were intense, coloured versions of Reggiani’s classic Lorosae pendant, in red, blue and orange methacrylate. Elsewhere, light emitting diodes lead the field, as in the Tre Ci Luce Rainbow RGB fitting, where the delicately diffuse white face is supplemented by a halo of changing colour on the surrounding wall, courtesy of LEDs hidden around the rear edge.

Less subtle is iColor Tile FX from Color Kinetics, in which 144 tri-colour LEDs create vivid, ever-changing colour washes. However, when it comes to integrating discrete colour features directly into the architecture, the Egg wall-light unit from Atelier Sedap takes some beating. The entire unit, including three or six white or colour LEDs, recessed in an egg-shaped hollow, comes as a 5mm-deep pre-fabricated plaster moulding. This is cut into the wall and skimmed over, to create a wonderfully low-key colour feature for corridors and reception spaces.

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