Although the world-renowned fabric nightclub is no stranger to the realm of light, during the 2019 Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) this relationship ascended to new heights as the former Metropolitan Cold Stores hosted the lighting exhibition for the tenth installment of the design show.
The CWD is an annually held event in one of London’s most iconic hubs for creativity and design, Clerkenwell. This year the event welcomed over 300 exhibitions, enlivened tens-of-thousands of guests and provided a whole host of talks and lectures – all in tribute to the greatest feats in design to come from the last year.
Being specialists in lighting meant we were some of the first to enjoy the wonders of the CDW. So as we descended through the rough brickwork arches and metal staircases, we embraced a single, composed motive: follow the light.
Early on we found the nature-inspired Ume lanterns designed by Esther Patterson, presented by Curiousa & Curiousa. The Umes unite Oriental style and British nature by utilising a silk and Chinese lantern structure alongside classic British garden flowers. The use of silk allows the luminaire’s light to shine through the colourful designs with crisp clarity, bringing vibrance to whichever space they’re hung. For us, they brought a welcomed flowery freshness to a dark and intense underground-venue.
Photo credit: atelje-lyktan
Floating along from the blossoming lanterns, we were confronted with the straight lines and bold corners of the ateljé Lyktan luminaires designed by Fourmation. The Vault luminaire has “creativity without complexity” in mind and utilises a simple click-in design. The luminaire bars connect to suspended central cubes with the ease of a click, offering freedom to alter the pattern and flow of light in a room without the need to install a new system. The smart system can be positioned either horizontally or vertically, offering designers and consumers alike the freedom to create the lighting design that they want. Plus, being detachable must make transporting and moving them pretty easy – also an added bonus.
We ended with the leaders in light, Signify. For those who aren’t aware, Signify was formerly Philips Lighting, however in 2018 the company went through a rebrand, endorsing a new approach to how we understand lighting. At the Signify stand we were greeted by Stefanie Bergmans, Business Development Manager, Large Luminous Surfaces at Philips Lighting, Stephanie Nunez, Social Media Strategist & Analytics Intern at Signify, and Richard Garrett, Product Marketing Manager at Signify.
Signify has taken the possibilities of light and moved the boundaries. Its understanding of light as a concept looks beyond basic function and explores how things could be better. At CDW Signify was showcasing two of what they call ‘Large Luminous Surfaces’, namely the Luminous Textile and OneSpace.
The Luminous Textile is a wall-mounted LED surface light made from fabric. Despite being pretty unconventional, the textile surface distributes the light gently and effectively, remaining bright while never giving off glare. What’s more, with the freedom to program the LEDs it’s possible to alter colours, patterns and even display information should you so desire. The fabric itself looks well-suited to an office space when the surface is switched off and also naturally absorbs sound, reducing echo and making your working environment more comfortable.
After discussing the Luminous Textile, we were shown OneSpace. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a doorway to heaven, but OneSpace comes pretty close to what we imagine one to look like. The crystal-clear luminaire was surprisingly pleasant to look at; so much so that you’d be forgiven for believing it wasn’t on. However, just a glimpse below OneSpace and you’d see that everything its light touches becomes sharper and clearer to look at. Better still, OneSpace reduces shadows almost entirely, a major benefit for your eyes. It also does some pretty nifty stuff for your general health and productivity. For example, by using the connected app you can alter the LEDs to mirror circadian patterns, and following a heavy lunch it’s possible to change the brightness to create a hormonal reaction that’ll wake you up. If that isn’t smart lighting, then I’m keen to see what is.