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Canadian lighting competition showcases cosmic creations


Light bulb moments

The sky wasn't the limit for annual design awards in lighting architecture

Black Hole Lamp by Dario Narvaez and Anthony Baxter, CurveID, New York

Black Hole Lamp by Dario Narvaez and Anthony Baxter, CurveID, New York


A pendant light that is a literal map to the stars. A lamp inspired by a region of space-time.

These are not part of the new set design for television's Star Trek: Discovery or even a NASA project. They're just a few of the 2016 finalists in Canada's largest international lighting competition, LAMP (Lighting Architecture Movement Project; announced Thursday from Vancouver. Twenty will be on view at the public exhibition (Nov. 3-6) in Railtown's Jan Kath Studio where the internationally acclaimed carpet designer provides a galactic backdrop of rugs from his Spacecrafted Collection.

"This year's theme was Cosmic and we are thrilled that in its fourth year of the competition, LAMP attracted even more entries than in past years – 132 submissions worldwide, from 80 cities and 27 countries," says LAMP cofounder Annika Hagen.

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Each year, LAMP challenges designers to approach their creations with a specific theme. Cosmic in all its connotations was the 2016 subject. Aesthetics, marketability, innovation and interpretation were the criteria deliberated by a panel of international judges, including Niels Bendtsen (Bensen), Jakub Zak (Patricia Urquiola Studio), Joana Bover (Bover), Rosie Li (Rosie Li Studio), Andrea McLean (Andrea McLean Design Office), Allison Mills (Inform Interiors in Seattle); Ellie Niakan (B. Interior Architecture, LC, CLD), and Phillip K. Smith, III (PKS3).

The judges chose 10 designs in each of established, emerging and student categories.

On Thursday, the Inform Interiors Grand Prize Award of $2,000 will be presented to the winner in the established category; $1,000 Light-Resource Award to the winner in the emerging category and $500 IALD Award and Professional Internship at ANDlight to the student category winner.

"We have increased our branding to include manufacture, which has always been a LAMP goal," says Hagen. Partnering with sponsor Light-Resource for the Your Design on the Production Line Award, a winner was chosen from all the 132 submissions (not just from the finalists) with the intent of production with one of Light-Resource's manufacturing partners. "This really increases the incentive for all future entrants," Hagen adds.

Established category

Black Hole Lamp by Dario Narvaez and Anthony Baxter, CurveID, New York

Black Hole Lamp by Dario Narvaez and Anthony Baxter, CurveID, New York


First Prize: Black Hole Lamp by Dario Narvaez and Anthony Baxter, CurveID, New York

Ironically, Narvaez's passion is usually confined to automotive design, specifically John Deere tractors. Black Hole Lamp is his first foray into lighting design. "This was an extremely complicated project, said the Colombian-born senior industrial designer, by phone from his New York office.

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"A popular depiction of a black hole is an unseen force of nature drawing light down to a single point in space. Using this analogy, the Black Hole Lamp controls the intensity of the light being emitted by creating a funnel from which the light cannot escape."

In the "on" position, the reflective disc of material is fully illuminated, but as the flexible disc is drawn back toward the centre of the black hole, the light gets dimmer until it eventually disappears.

"I thought this lamp was fantastic – so elegant and I love that you have to pull back the metal 'switch' to dim the lighting, as if you're stretching time and space," said judge and light-art sculptor, Phillip K. Smith from his Laguna Beach, Calif., studio. "You know, it's always a dilemma – structure and engineering versus metaphor and poetry – but, in the end, a lamp has to be functional. This one has it all."

Matthew Kennedy designed Diaphanous as a map to the stars in the Northern Hemisphere.

Diaphanous by Matthew Kennedy, Penticton, B.C.


Finalist: Diaphanous by Matthew Kennedy, Penticton, B.C.

"I'm passionate about solid-state lighting, and have been working on personal projects designing and developing new archetypes in LED waveguide lighting," says Kennedy, who was also a finalist last year in the same category.

He designed Diaphanous as a map to the stars in the Northern Hemisphere, recreating the actual patterns of the constellations by laser-etching them into the inside of the dome, then shining a light from a concealed LED source.

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Emerging category

Antitesi by Luca Mazzon and Alessandro Dadone; Bra and Como, Italy

Antitesi by Luca Mazzon and Alessandro Dadone; Bra and Como, Italy


First Prize: Antitesi by Luca Mazzon and Alessandro Dadone; Bra and Como, Italy

Leave it to the Italians to create something fiery and passionate even when it comes to lighting. The two product designers, fascinated by both the mystical powers of the night sky as well as the spiritual and religious aspects of the universe, created a lamp reflecting both interpretations. Like a sculptural eclipse, Antitesi's hanging disc made of two layers of eco resin, receives light from a single source and reflects back two different views from a dichroic film.

"I love that this lamp is so sculptural, beautiful and delicate," said B.C.-born judge, Jakub Zak, from London where he is a design project manager for Patricia Urquiola.

"I hope Mazzon and Dadone can find a way to manufacture it," he said.

Cosmic Chaos by Corinne Mynatt, Britain

Cosmic Chaos by Corinne Mynatt, Britain


Finalist: Cosmic Chaos by Corinne Mynatt, Britain

Based in London, Mynatt has lived and worked in Eindhoven, a hotbed for everything design near Amsterdam. "My work is very sculptural," she says from her hometown of Nashville, Tenn., where she is on a three-month sabbatical.

"I started with almost a doodle-like drawing on paper. I wanted the chandelier to look like neon but it's impossible to tie neon in a knot so I sourced other materials. The light becomes a chaotic Mobius loop, one that can carry on for infinity, just like space."

Cloud by Robert Geyer and Rena-Li Kuhrt, Vancouver

Cloud by Robert Geyer and Rena-Li Kuhrt, Vancouver


Finalist: Cloud by Robert Geyer and Rena-Li Kuhrt, Vancouver

Cloud is a series of hand-blown glass objects illuminated within by an LED. Blowing molten glass into the inside of a hand-knotted wire cage forms the organic lamp vessels.

The copper cage is then removed, leaving behind a faint copper shadow in the indents of the glass.

Although it didn't make the final top 10 cut, Jakub Zak also praised Satelight by Belgian industrial product designer Sep Verboom for its "raw simplicity and use of livable materials" (recyclable aluminum foam.) "You know LAMP makes competition so important because even if you didn't win, it raises the bar for all the designers."

Student category

HENYX by Anna Tomschik, Vienna, Austria

HENYX by Anna Tomschik, Vienna, Austria


First Prize: HENYX by Anna Tomschik, Vienna, Austria

HENYX, named after the Greek goddesses of day, Hemera, and night, Nyx, was created by Tomschik who has a master's degree in architecture. She designed a clever bedside lamp based on the user's circadian rhythms.

By way of a mobile app, an individual set-up can be created to vary light intensity and colour based upon temperature.

The big hemisphere, the "sun," will gradually illuminate itself in the morning linked to the alarm clock.

The smaller hemisphere, the "moon," features soft and reflected light for bedtime mode.

Cosmos by Nathaniel Ng, Singapore

Cosmos by Nathaniel Ng, Singapore


Winner, Light-Resource Your Design on the Production Line: Cosmos by Nathaniel Ng, Singapore

Inspired by the unplanned yet complex and orderly system of cosmic space, each arm of Ng's lamp is connected by bearings that allow it to swivel.

The four spiral arms emulate the Milky Way. Cosmos can be used as both a pendant light or standing lamp.

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