LightArt Brings Cutting Edge Design to the Workplace
Digital fabrication and craft make this innovative lighting collection a perfect fit for the modern office.
The turning point happened in front of Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France—an animal-like structure by Coop Himmelb(l)au that features a complex, three-dimensional metal facade.
“The Museum brought everything together,” Ryan Smith, LightArt’s president and creative director, explains. “It taught us how to create a shape that is fundamentally more interesting than a straight line.”
Smith had left his company’s base in Seattle and flown to Lyon in search of just such inspiration. LightArt, which specializes in handmade light fixtures and is known for both its “ready-to-go” and custom products, was looking to launch a new collection, one that would, for the first time in LightArt’s history, incorporate digital fabrication techniques.
For LightArt, materials are always a starting point in the creative process. Notes Smith: “What is authentic design? Probably the best way to answer that is by just looking at the material, because the material is authentic in its raw form, and the process is authentic because you get back to just doing it by hand.”
To achieve this balance of materiality and innovation for its new collection of fixtures, the company decided to embark in a partnership with iwoodlove, a design studio in Rochetoirin, France. Smith soon traveled to France to meet with the studio’s principals, Guillaume Martin and Michael Damen. They not only looked at a variety of materials but also explored the area around Rochetoirin, a hamlet southeast of Lyon, visiting the local landmarks and buildings—including the Musée de Confluences, where inspiration finally struck.
A few weeks later, the LightArt team brought their concepts back to their Seattle headquarters for rounds of testing, design, and technology refinement.
Using a sophisticated 5-axis CNC machine, the approach allowed the team to execute intricate shapes with maximum precision, and after two years of work, the four light fixtures in the FIVE X collection—Pivot, Vex, Ray, and Plot—were ready for the market.
The different lines in the series feature angles, curves, and planes which can be configured to form a variety of shapes, creating unique, sculptural center-pieces.
“While the collection is extremely versatile in its application, when developing it, we’d imagine it at companies where technology-driven design and innovation are valued,” says Smith. “We want forward-thinking people to be inspired by these modern shapes, driven by a desire to supersede the typical restraints we see on size, form and geometry.”