Heart of Glass


As a native of Murano, Italy, the designer Luca Nichetto has fond memories of the handcrafted “pearls” that are sold as souvenirs of the island’s famous glassmaking industry. So when the manufacturer Foscarini—which also got its start in Murano—asked Nichetto to design a large-scale suspension lamp, he thought to recreate the feeling of those colorful baubles, but without the prohibitive cost and weight of glass. Through another client, Nichetto heard of an unusual alternative: rotationally molded polycarbonate, rarely used by product designers because polycarbonate is more difficult to mold than other plastics. “Rotational molding gives you the opportunity to exactly control the outside shape,” Nichetto says. “But, inside, it’s impossible to control the thickness of the material.” As a result, his subtly warped Plass lamp is reminiscent of handmade glass. “This was exactly what I wanted,” Nichetto says. “To find a production method that gives you control of the product, but not one hundred percent control. I think that’s quite cool.”

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