Italo Calvino wrote in his Lezioni Americane that "lightness is associated with precision and determination, not with vagueness and abandonment to chance: lightness is gliding over things from above, without having boulders on one's heart." Moving from the plane of poetic metaphor to the more concrete plane of the materials of which objects are made, precision and determination are often the basis of winning and con-vincing design projects. A gliding over things from above which, on closer inspection, seems to have inspired the latest effort by Marcel Wanders studio for Flos: Skynest turns out to be a lamp that is light but, at the same time, of great stage presence, ethereal but with a strong personality. A product that is the result of precision and accuracy in the choice of materials and technology as much as of a design determination that transforms a surprisingly unprecedented intuition (to propose the weave itself as a light source) into a suspension lamp that subverts the traditional canons of lighting technology and proposes an innovative change of perspective.
Skynest presents the traditional shape of the pendant lamp, with a central core and what at first glance appears to be a lampshade. The light, however, is not emitted by a bulb, nor by an LED board, but by the very elements that form the structure of the lampshade: fabric-covered LED strips. The lamp is in fact composed of 24 LED light rods covered with a two-tone textile weave. The light is emitted on one side only, the white side, while the colour of the fabric remains visible on the outside. The intersection of the various luminous elements with another 48 coloured rods on the two sides gives life to the lamp: an ethereal, very light presence, inspired by the artisan world but unexpectedly technological.
The intuition of Marcel Wanders studio was to propose weaving as a novel light source. If, in fact, using weaves to create lampshades is standard in craft-inspired lighting, the change of perspective, i.e. making the basket a source of light itself, transforms Skynest into an innovative and surprising design piece. A bridge between two universes that are increasingly coming together in contemporary feeling.
Rethinking the existing
To realise the project, the Flos technical department worked with Strip-Led covered with a tubular fabric, a sock made of recycled polyester threaded onto the rod. Usual materials, but assembled in a novel way: in this rethinking of the existing, in this strong link between industry, technology and craftsmanship, lies the design innovation that Skynest represents. Even the name is evocative, recalling a nest of light suspended in the sky, a dreamy and poetic image.
Design for sustainability
The assembly of Skynest is simple because it is modular. Each element is inserted between the central core and the perimeter ring thanks to special jacks that guarantee the passage of current and maintain the shape of the dome. As a result, each lighting element is easily removable in case of repairs and replacements. At the end of its life, the entire lamp can be disassembled for proper recycling of each element.
Two variants, four colours
Skynest is available in two variants (pendant and surface mounted) and in four colours: Anthracite, replacing the classic black; Almond, in place of the traditional white; Brick, as a warm and characterful shade; and an elegant Tormaline Blue.
Photo © Alessandro Oliva