Maybe this will turn into a mini-series of things that we never thought we'd think about; we'll see how we go.
And perhaps its because I share my life with an artist and maker who's managed to activate my Decoration Gene, but I can't help but feel that Designers often leave something at the front door when it comes to the finer points of lighting design. We can probably blame all of this on the Monster of Minimal that still haunts the forest, scaring anyone who evens imagines a lampshade with a fringe on it.
But I've never been a great fan of the mass-market decorative lighting fixture; there's definitely too much of the 'mass' about the market - and we understand why, of course. This isn't about commissioning bespoke pieces; this is about selling lots and lots of boxes of the same thing, so a degree of homogeneity and dullness is to be expected.
What has always excited me about decoration is the idea that its not something that has be taken out of a box. I enjoy exploring the fuzzy space between Art and Design and look for opportunities to meld the two. One of the fun, if not truly subversive, things to do with a piece of Minimal Modernism is to consider that white panel of light as an empty canvas - and to bring Art into space using the light as the vehicle to achieve it. The first time I ever did this should probably have had me drummed out of the profession by the Design Star Chamber, because I took a clutch of Arne Jacobsen's iconic fixtures from Louis Poulsen . . . and had other iconic (Art Deco) patterns etched onto them.
Now, Jacobsen is a beacon of the Modernist movement and the Discus (now re-named AJ EKLIPTA. What is this, IKEA??) is a fine example of the functionaility of the movement and is, I guess, a response to the busy-ness of all that Art Deco stuff that came before it. But can our future ever truly divorce itself from our past? In that moment, I felt that I saw the shadow of a past design epoch looking out at me from Jacobsen's functional glass disc.
Which brings me to my latest little adventure . . .
And that's the way that its been. My most recent foray into the territory of Art in Design has come from a desire to add Decoration into the lighting design of a Healthcare environment. The idea of clean white-n'wipe-down glass surfaces is a natural for this community, but I can't help feeling that Good Art trumps Good Design in the Healthy Spirit stakes. So I suggested that - once again - those clean white panels might have more to offer the building and its guests.
I approached a local glass artist GIllian McCormick and talked to her about creating images of the natural world onto a shallow glass dome (I was looking at another perennial in my design toolbox, the RZB 'Flat Basic' to provide good, elegant, service illumination). Gillian's response was gorgeous - just what I was hoping for.
Unfortunately, the HealthCare professionals probably haven't read the same Health Through Art books as me, so the detail never made it to the finished project. But Gillian's piece has made it as far as my hallway, where it joins a pair of pheasant watercolours (and a mis-placed thermostat - sheesh!) in our 'Bird Gallery.
Paintings by my partner in life; Annabel Wilson.
To learn more about my lighting design philosophy and how I work, please click HERE!
A (very) basic guide to ethical specification
Lighting design: it's a client thing
Calculating obtrusive light: whose job is it?
When there's nothing in the catalogue
When is a chandelier not a pendant? When its a lantern!
When clients learn too much . . .
One of our details is missing
Where will light fittings come from?
The end of the light bulb?
Always something new . . . again
Always something new . . .
Combining old and new
On being in the dark . . .
Riffing The Internet of Things
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room