Light + Tech - A Show Of Light

Jill Entwistle takes us through some of the latest trends and breakthroughs


With the Skynest pendant, Marcel Wanders revisited the suspended dome. His Skygarden, which some years ago inverted and subverted the ornate ceiling with its interior plaster decoration, has become a perennial best-seller.

Skynest is a lighter affair, and features two new variants, Skynest Motion and Skynest Ceiling. A typical pendant light shape, the luminaire features a central core and what initially looks like a lampshade. However, the illumination is not emitted by a central source but the elements that form the structure of the lampshade: LED strips covered in fabric – what Wanders describes as ‘weaving streaks of light’.

The luminaire comprises 24 LED light sticks covered with a two-tone, recycled polyester textile. The light is emitted from one side only, the white one, while the colour of the fabric remains visible on the outside. The intersection of the various light elements with 48 other coloured rods on both sides creates the overall effect.

Image Credit: Alessandro Oliva

‘Delicate textile tubes, integrated with LED lights, are woven like threads along the structure of the lamp creating a unique surprise element that challenges the archetype of bulb lighting,’ says Wanders.

There are now three variants and four colours: anthracite, replacing the classic black; almond, replacing the traditional white; brick, and tourmaline blue. The Motion variant is designed to appear to float in the air, supported by a stem that matches the colours of the lampshades. The stem, attached to the ceiling and stretched towards the floor by a counterweight, is almost invisible due to its minimal thickness.

Louis xiv
Davide groppi

Image Credit: Davide Groppi Srl / Fausto Mazza

Even the most devout minimalist likes a crack at a chandelier, but Groppi nevertheless keeps it deconstructed and sparse. The central pendant light source is clean lined – a polished gold stem holding a simple black diffuser – uplighting the seemingly random crystal drops, but also providing an element of downlight.

Again available in 2700K (228lm down, 616lm up) and 3000K (245lm down, 716lm up), the 14W LEDs have a high colour rendering of CR90.

‘A small light machine, with direct and indirect light, multiplies the glass reflections to create a wonderful effect of magnificence, the contemporary transposition of Versailles,’ says Groppi.

Davide groppi

Asintoto is Groppi at his characteristically minimal and graphic. A metal interior pendant which, in its Gravity Black finish, plays with the idea of a black hole. It emits only indirect light using 18W LEDs, in two warm white colour temperatures 2700K (output 2610lm) and 3000K (2680 lm). Also available in slightly more obtrusive Blue Fluo and Orange Fluo finishes, it has a diameter of 400m and depth of 300mm.

Image Credit: Davide Groppi Srl



Thalea is a series of diffusers in coloured borosilicate glass and aluminium which can be configured in a variety of ways.

Diffusers – available in four different shapes in coloured glass and one shape in black – vary in size and width, and are conical with a slight curvature that softens the silhouette. Colours range from warm to cool tones that can be combined to be complementary or contrasting.

The luminaire has two forms of illumination: a linear light source diffuses ambient light through the coloured glass, while a spotlight provides direct illumination to surfaces.

After eight

A metal pendant lamp providing direct downlight, After Eight’s main body can be combined with solid glass diffusers in three different sizes, shapes and colours, designed to provide a soft ambient light. With the metal component coming in two sizes – 30cm and 36cm high, excluding the diffuser – it has an integrated and dimmable LED light source.

Cono w
Catellani & smith

Catellani & Smith is one of those lighting companies that has always excelled at truly appreciating lighting effect and creating highly imaginative ways of expressing it.

As its name suggests, the Cono W wall lamp is an elegant tubular structure in a distinctive cone shape. More than 2m high, it has different light sources at each end. The main one at the top of the lamp spreads light up towards the ceiling and the wall using an asymmetric lens and a high-efficiency COB (chip-on-board) LED positioned inside the structure. A 1W LED gives off a subtle sliver of light from the lower end of the lamp.

Image Credit: Nava Rapacchietta

The finish is applied by hand, combining a bright shade of blue – using irregular brushstrokes to bring a textured look to the outer surface of the lamp – with gold leaf on the interior, the characteristic irregular surface that features in a number of the company’s luminaires.

Catellani & smith

Enso is a sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism meaning circle, and is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy, even though it is a symbol and not a character.

It is traditionally drawn using only one brushstroke as a meditative practice, freeing the mind to create as the singular brushstroke allows for no modifications. And, of course, the lamp it inspires echoes its creator’s name. ‘I find the circle symbol, particularly fascinating for what it represents: enlightenment, completeness, everything and nothing,’ says Enzo Catellani. ‘So an attempt to bring a three-dimensional character to those brushstrokes was a natural step for me to take.’

Image Credit: Nava Rapacchietta

The circular sculpture rests on a brass base, while the LED light source – which involves an innovative patent-pending wireless connection and distribution system – is hidden behind the structure of the lamp, creating a soft light effect on the wall.

‘The colour, which lessens along the way, does not reach the closure of the circle, intentionally interrupting the beginning and end of a cycle to indicate that there are still openings for growth and evolution,’ says Catellani.

Crystal beat
Preciosa lighting

Preciosa uses traditional Bohemian glass-making techniques to create contemporary crystal lighting centrepieces. Crystal Beat was an immersive light and sound installation specially created for the exhibition in Milan.

The handcrafted bubbled crystal tubes – soda ash is added to the glass to create the bubbles – are made at the company’s production facility in Crystal Valley, Czech Republic. Each LED module can be controlled independently, which also enables dynamic light scenes.

The Euroluce installation measured 4.9m by 14.5m and involved 810 crystal tubes with 1620 LEDs.


There’s a whiff of the 1980s and the Pompidou about the Dreispitz system. Designed by starchitect Herzog & de Meuron, it has a triangular central core with light diffuser tubes on three sides to provide a soft, even light. It can also be combined with a cylinder element which further controls light emission to avoid glare, particularly in office environments.

As well as the ceiling fixture, there is a  floorstanding luminaire and a wall version that comprises two di¬ user tubes and a minimalist  fixing structure on the third side. The system allows many configurations. The ceiling version alone can be surface-mounted or suspended, both horizontally and vertically. The system also enables a modular approach with 90cm,120cm and 150cm elements, which can be linked together, including at angles.

Dreispitz also has eco credentials, including using partially recycled, recyclable and easily dismantled materials. Lighting control can be operated through the Artemide App. 

Michael anastassiades

Anastassiades excels at exploiting the possibilities of geometry while keeping it simple. Peaks, a family of pendants comprising a string of elongated cones in di­fferent configurations, plays with light and shadow. The artificial light source is moved around to create di­fferent lighting e­ffects so that, accordingly, the cone is perceived differently.

The graded shading on the curved surface of each cone is as much of a feature as the projected beams emitted from each cone. The shading always occurs on the curved surface connecting the apex with the base. When the cone is directed toward the light, all its curved surface is light and the base is shadow.

It can be displayed as a single, double or triple arrangement, pointing up or down depending on the preferred direction of light. An identical inverted cone acts as a rose attached to the ceiling.

‘When the light is o­ff, the forms appear very schematic, as if borrowed from a geometric still life,’ says Anastassiades. ‘When on, the shading changes, as light casts along the curved surface.’

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