Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Optic Options

Coming from Hong Kong is lighting designer Max Lam for Owindo.  Lam's work often flirts with a sort of late-60s, early-70s swingin' pad aesthetic (which I love), but what I really like about it is how so much of his work is about the optical properties of the pieces.  Historically, I feel like all the best lighting designers have been very much in tune with how lighting affects vision, and were interested in playing with that in different ways.

Off we go, then.  Here's the very simply geometric "Tube":

The cylindrical shape of its arms in a nice contrast with the sharp right angles of their arrangement, but this is very pure and at the same time visually complex.

Here's "Cell (Molecule)":

This is also offered in gold, which I think would take on a completely different character.  But in silver, this forms all these incredible relationships because of the reflections in it: the fixture to the room it hangs in, and also to you in the room, the beams of light to the room they illuminate, the fixture to itself, and so on.  While it's sharply geometric, there's something very natural about this at the same time, as its name would suggest.

This is "C.C.C." (click it):

Perhaps a sphere is more geometrically simple than a cube, but with a sphere there are too many other connotations.  A cube brings its geometricality immediately to the forefront.  So here I'm fascinated by the contrast between the geometric simplicity of the cube and the unbelievable complexity of the structure of it.   Close up, it looks almost delicate, fragile, and lacy.  Again, it's an optical experience.

I find "Moderne" to be just completely mesmerizing:

This is evidently a brand new piece, because it doesn't yet appear on the website from what I can tell.  It's possible that it spins, I suppose, but I doubt it does.  If it did it might put people in a trance.  Anyway, something about the overlapping spirals drawing the eye in toward this explosion of light and reflection in the center is just so powerful and otherworldly.

While it doesn't have as much of the optical playfulness of some of the others, my absolute favorite, formally speaking, is without doubt "Bouquet":

Its fluid lines and proportions just have such gorgeous finesse.  Something very classy about it looks like it could've been designed a hundred years ago, and yet something else is wildly 22nd Century.  That's "Bouquet (Green)."  Here's "Bouquet (Mature)," the table version:

Personally, I think the pendant is more successful, but that's quite amazing, also.  Oddly enough, I suspect it would look incredible and perfectly comfortable being on this hundred-year-old Gustav Stickley library table:

--Rago Art and Auction Center

OWINDO Lighting
(Hong Kong) 852-3588-3889

©2008, Ryan Witte

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