"Ensō, the symbol of the circle, fascinated me in particular because of what it represents: enlightenment, completeness, everything, nothingness. At that point, trying to give three-dimensionality to that gesture was a natural step for me'. This is how Enzo Catellani, founder in 1989 of Catellani&Smith, a brand of "rigorously handmade" artisan lamps, recounts the origin of Ensō, the latest addition to the catalogue of a company that has always been in search of a distinctive sign, capable of lighting up a singular trace in the lighting panorama, made to remain in time.
Allegory and completeness
In the ancient art of Japanese calligraphy, the shodō, Ensō is an allegory of completeness and enlightenment: a perfect circle in its imperfection that is born from a manual, gentle and spontaneous gesture. In Catellani's idea, the lamp therefore represents life that is born to evolve to its fulfilment. And like life, explains the designer and entrepreneur, one Ensō is never the same as another.
Beginning and end of a cycle
During a period spent in Japan, Enzo Catellani discovered the beauty of these slow and precise gestures, still practising today to try to reveal their essence. And this is how the delicate movement of the brush is transferred into three-dimensionality, becoming an imaginative and sought-after object. The blue, hand-painted circle reproduces the fruit of that immediate gesture as if it had been traced in space, an imprint that arrives and remains sculpted in the contemporary domestic landscape. "Ensō's point of origin seems to be infused with ink that fades to its end. The colour, which fades during its course, does not come full circle: it deliberately interrupts the beginning and conclusion of a cycle because there is still openness for growth and evolution'.
But how, materially, is the lamp made? The circle-sculpture rests on a brass base, while the LED light source - for which an innovative patent pending wireless connection and distribution system was used - is hidden behind the structure of the lamp, generating a diffused light effect on the wall.
Craftsmanship and enterprise
Ensō represents a further evolution in the history of a brand born to affirm the importance of craftsmanship in Italian design, renewing that pact between enterprise and high manufacturing at the origin of Made in Italy. "Our approach has evolved over time to remain faithful to the principles of all time," says Catellani. "We make our handcrafted lamps by hand, valuing the work of our highly specialised collaborators. Technology is constantly evolving, changing faster and faster, like a lift takes the human being away from the earth. The role of our products is also to bring it back to a human dimension, in which the lamp 'speaks' of manual work, of artisan skills, integrating in a constructive dialogue a technology that is always in step with the times'.