design, fashion, friends, lighting

A New Field of Science

This post somehow got incepted and talked about and even written on the plane. Call this serendipity, but light fixtures created by Dan Vakhrameyev and Kateryna Fedorenko have a great load of air in them. No surprise that some of our readers see this post in an airport or perhaps even aboard above the Arabian Gulf.

We got in touch with the duo from Kiev — The Fild — and asked them to tell Light Intelligence about their light fittings.

Dan and Kateryna. Light is in the air

Dan and Kateryna. Light is in the air

Dan, Salvador Dali International University Alumni, has started The Fild in 2012. Path to lighting trailed through successful collaborations in the world of fashion and graphic design, when Kateryna Fedorenko and Dan have joined forces. Kateryna has before successfully founded a fashion brand L’UVE and brought with her unique fashion vision.

Their collection Sustainable Origins (SO) consists of eight objects. As Kateryna describes it “Light is simply one of the necessary decorative elements of interior design. We have just expressed the ideas that visited us!” Designers describe their style as clean minimalism and seek inspiration in graphic design. Texture is a key, and to metaphysical light, they add wood and metal.

SO1 from the Ukrain duo

SO1 from the Ukrainian duo

Dan and Kateryna meticulously select their suppliers and demand only the best quality of LED light sources and gears. Impossible to miss, textile cords that match the color of wooden base, are a sign of good taste.

SO8 inviting into a cosy warm hotel of light

SO8 inviting into a cosy warm hotel of light

We loved the suspended linear fixture SO8. A sheet of metal lovingly wraps around the wooden base and leaves an opening just enough for the right amount of light to pour. We won’t be too much far off if we predict this fixture would even meet EN standards for glare control!

Pardon the pun, but there may be a new filed of science happening here. Aetherophosology, we shall call it, with a great load of light in the air.

architecture, 照明, design, effects, friends, interview, lighting

Calling of Light

Michel Zayat

We met with Michel Zayat, a prominent architect and artist, in a cosy art nouveau interior of Cafe Belge in DIFC to talk about architecture and light. Michel lives and works in Dubai, UAE, has an exciting history in his home Damascus, Syria. There together with his wife and a friend of his life, Salma, they run a famous designer store Yabe and Yamo. He taught arts and architecture at Damascus University, worked in Rome, Italy. Geography of Zayat’s projects is as vast as the Middle East: from UAE to Jordan, and to Saudi Arabia, and spread onto Algeria, North Africa. Michel’s father, Elias Zayat, is one of the most famous Syrian artists, and our conversation veers to paintings.

Nikita Che: “Is there a parallel between a light on a canvas, and in the panes of a building?”

Michel Zayat: “A painting emits light. Masterfully schemed onto the canvas, it pours out and captures the observer. He is caught! He is inside the plot. Remember Caravaggio ‘Calling of St. Matthew?’ No visible source of light, yet it penetrates the room and spills beyond the canvas. A candle, a shade on a protagonist’s face, a window, all play their role in shining the light from the painting.

Calling of St. Mathew, Caravaggio

Calling of St. Mathew, Caravaggio

“These elaborate techniques may as well be used in 3D spaces. Habitually we are all about lighting fixtures when we talk about light in architecture. Though arsenal of an architect is as wide as an artist’s. Colour, daylight, geometry and orientation of the room, shadows, you name it! How to get maximum light in a classroom, and decrease heat and glare? Locate it in the North of a building. “It is a pity that many architects and their clients have lost the sense of a daylight. We forgot how to make use of it, and all we do is fighting it.”

NC: “Any good examples?”

MZ: “Index Tower in Dubai is probably one of the few.”

NC: “What makes good artificial light?”

MZ: “Imagine a castle. Its dungeon would be lit with torches fixed on the walls of a passage. Scars dimmed light, barely enough for a poor prisoner to find his surroundings. Now fly up high to the tower where a beautiful princess reads romances, an elaborate chandelier with hundreds of candles lights her pages. Light follows the function of a room, and often creates this very function. Few of us now live in castles, but can easily turn their living room in a disco. A good architect, conscious about lighting matters would always give a client an option to select between layers of light.”

NC: “What is the role of a luminaire in this?”

MZ: “The choice is always dictated by client’s experience, his background, knowledge, vision. Unfortunately often it becomes shopping for clothes, and individual taste comes on the foreground. Like one is choosing a shirt.”

NC: “Can a lighting designer help?”

MZ: “I have never properly worked with a lighting designer. The nature of your projects defines the necessity to employ a designer. A hospital needs lighting designer, a school, a museum does. Hotel lobbies, restaurants are spaces where architects intuition sets the light. Occasionally lighting suppliers come into the picture and offer their scheme. I would not call it a good thing at all. A supplier would bring commercial note into the selection.”

NC: “Have you designed your own luminaires?”

MZ: “I have! Creating a lighting fixture is a sculpture for me. Light then becomes a material, like steel, marble, mother pearl. One object is especially dear for me — Corn. It is from my childhood, when street merchants used to sell corn from an immense wide halleh dara, a shallow pot. Made of thick copper, and sanded and fumed from inside to rid off toxic corrosion, the pot was always heated by fire and kept the water hot. It took one large ball of copper and a patient craftsman with a hammer to make such a flat large object.

Zayat's Corn at Yabe and Yamo, Damascus

Zayat’s Corn at Yabe and Yamo, Damascus

“My Corns were not that thick and we painted them pink, white and black from inside. The idea was to bring light in memories. One day you will see them in Dubai.”

NC: “Which materials do you use?”

MZ: “My favorite trinity: wood, metal and plastic. Plastic is a modern boisterous antagonist of the former two. They have been around for centuries, and then came plastic and disrupted.”

NC: “What is the light source you used in your luminaires?”

MZ: “I love that simple bulb in the middle of the a fixture. It becomes a focal point. That bulb and a socket base, a machine that transforms the power of electricity into light. The bulb is a simple and genius invention.”

“A candle lights a room, a bulb lights a room, everything extra is non essential. Nothing could replace an incandescent lamp, and it is such a shame it is banned now. I ask myself: a generation that would grow without the bulb, which symbol would they use when a bright idea strikes them!?” (laughs)

design, stars of lighting design

Bold from Brooklyn

Photo by Scott Benedict

Knotty Bubbles by Lindsey Edelman. Photo by Scott Benedict. Source: Roll & Hill

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. We are inspired by bold forms of lighting fixtures made by a Brooklyn-based Roll & Hill, a studio founded by Jason Miller in 2010. Miller’s vision was to make lighting for American market. European brands that dominated the market at the time had, to designer’s view, alien aesthetics to American consumer. Comfortable, rich, solid, simple, durable — are what was sought after by the US lighting aficionados.

Roll & Hill is not after mass market and makes one fixture at a time. Their web-site states 16 weeks production time. Fittings are made by hand and the studio collaborates with several talents from around the area: Lindsey Edelman (her Knotty Bubbles above) or Rosie Li (the fixture below was inspired by the famous painter Frank Stella, below).

Stella Hexagon by Rosie Li. Source: Roll & Hill

Stella Hexagon by Rosie Li. Source: Roll & Hill

James Miller designs are rich in historical context. Endless (photograph below) is brought from 70’s approach when large graphic elements were taken into architecture. This product comes in a variety of options and materials. Studio craftsmen use contemporary light sources. We have noticed the use of LED bulbs (though further specs missing) and typical for the US Triac (or thyristor) dimming. European or Middle East specifications would ask for DALI for better controls integration.


Endless by Jason Miller. Source: Roll & Hill

We wish Roll & Hill further success around the world, and hope one day to see their creations live!

Sources: Roll & Hill website, Fast Company, Port Magazine

architecture, 照明, design, energy, lighting

Architecture inside out

Centro de innovacion by Elemental

SANTIAGO, CHILE. Alejandro Aravena and his collaborators from Chilean architectural bureau Elemental reduced normal energy consumption of the building three times. Here is how. They had turned it inside out. When conventional structure would have its core inside, Elemental architects thought they should replace glazing with concrete walls, but have glazing directed inwards.

Natural light would still be pouring inside the building through a massive skylight and large openings in the outer core. This reverse solution helped to reduce the energy to fight the heat, but the glaring daylight also yielded.

This innovative idea serves well to the purpose of the building, an Innovation Centre of San Joaquín Cam­pus, Uni­ver­si­dad Católi­ca de Chile. There is always a tad bit of secrecy over any innovation. At first. Then it opens to all. Aravena’s Centre is the same: it opens to those who enter — transparent glazing and partitions facing sun lit atrium.


“We multiplied the meeting spaces throughout the whole height of the building using the triple height recessed windows as elevated squares,” say architects. Vertical circulation serves the spread of knowledge too. Think how much you could know moving up and down and seeing what is going on!

The fact that stuns us is that the Centre uses only 45kW per square meter per year. A normal glass shell — 120kW/m2/year! This  innovation definetely worth spreading to the Middle East.

Sources: image courtesy (exterior), (interior); text references

design, lighting

Kandy Kolored Tangerine

Mira-X by Verner Panton

Mira-X by Verner Panton

We often write about cutting edge technology, and today we give a way to some steam-punk! This is a Verner Panton pendant fitting that is allegedly belonged to his Mira-X collection. Mira-X featured 8 basic colors with eight grades of intensity, split into five motifs. Models for the exhibition photo-shoot wore only leggings. This was a real kandy kolored tangerine flake streamline, baby!

照明, design, effects, science

A stretching synthetic opal. Expect it soon


Material that changes color when stretched. We have already posted about the lab in Cambridge ( that plays with nanotechnology, and would like to talk a bit more on their particular inventions. 

Iridescent colors are achieved through zillions of sub-micron shells arranged into a crystal structures. Although synthetic opals have been fabricated in the lab for over two decades, the samples are brittle and aren’t suited for mass market applications.

The lab has come up with making crystals from spheres that have a soft outer shell, sort of a chewing-gum. A real advance is that they can make these photonic crystals by standard plastic manufacturing techniques. They are flexible, making them some of the most durable opalescent materials available, and they are suited for mass production and incorporation into consumer items.

We can see these polymers used widely in interior decoration and fabrication of furniture and lighting. What would you use them for?

Originally posted on Light Intelligence Facebook Page in Jan 2014

design, fashion

Eye-catching Exposition of Luca de Stael Glasses

Luca de Stael 2
EXPOSITION EN VITRINE DE LA NEW GALERIE DE FRANCE, Paris, France. Drag a passer’s-by attention to a shopwindow in the middle of a sunny day? Could be difficult for even all those standardised luminances, shops cannot be compared to an unshielded sunlight.
Designers of a temporal exposition of Undostrial glasses went on antagonists’ way, they juxtopposed darkness to light. Perfect way to beat the Sun! Perfect way to ignite interest and curiosity!
In a small Vitrine de la New Galerie de France, where plaster walls were still smelling fresh paint, the exposition was coming to an end, when we spotted it. Unique glasses emerging from and melting into white pannels were lit with a profile halogen spotlights. No light was spilled over. The only source of ambient artificial light was a multimedia projector looping ppt presentation of the products. At dawn and night time the scene may even be more dramatic. Excellent solution!
Originally published on light May 20 2009