A Flock of Winkas

Is a light fixture a designed object or simply part of the architecture? When Pennsylvania-based manufacturer Ivalo Lighting was conceived in 2000, founder Susan Hakkarainen raised the question in a discussion with designer Stefano Casciani and architecture professor William Braham. “At the end of the day, somebody needs to use the light, so we talked about design issues from the customer’s perspective,” Hakkarainen says. “This was about designing something to fit in a space.”

Ivalo then commissioned Casciani and a number of architects to each design a light for a specific purpose, focusing on how the object relates aesthetically to the space and how the user interacts with it. The hope was that such site-specific constraints would yield a virtuoso solution that might ultimately translate to other lighting applications. Choosing architects rather than industrial designers, Hakkarainen notes, was also deliberate.

At this year’s ICFF, Ivalo is unveiling the three lights featured here and the prototype for a pendant light code-named L’ale, by William Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Next year the company will reveal the fruits of another shift in perspective: a pendant created by the Audi Design Center, in California. Further iterations of the current designs are planned—as sconces and exterior lights—as well as a project by architects Ali Rahim and Hina Jamelle. Architects have jumped at the opportunity to design lighting for manufacture, in much the same way a previous generation jumped on the chair. For Winka Dub-beldam the pleasure is in the process—the fine tolerances, rapid prototyping, swift results: “Architects are usually indoctrinated by imprecise construction and site conditions. This was nice and precise.”

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