Italian lighting company SLAMP is known for designs that are both innovative and avant garde. Their cutting-edge designs incorporate proprietary materials that are as high quality as they are highly creative.
SLAMP’s latest innovation is the La Vie collection, available exclusively at YLighting, created by their rising star designer Adriano Rachele. We had the pleasure of catching up with Rachele to talk about his latest collection, his design process and SLAMP’s efforts on sustainability–including something he calls SLAMP’s “magic” when it comes to creating new materials.
What is your design story?
After receiving my Industrial Design degree in 2007, I began collaborating with Slamp’s Research and Development department in the creation of new products. I think Slamp chose me because we have a shared desire to design innovative, iconic, accessible, and winning design.
So, what makes for good lighting—is there more to it than simply illuminating a space?
I personally believe more in emotion than technique. LED gives lighting more flexible dynamics, efficiency, and chromatic output. Currently, the illumination sector is leaning obsessively towards more lumen, more lux, more watts, but I don’t think we should limit ourselves to only these factors. Between technological advances and minimal aesthetics in design, lighting fades within spaces, and has definitely become more sterile. I try to recreate strong emotions through a selection of materials and light that takes advantage of reflections and shadows. I think the latest technology should lend itself to lamps that evoke emotions; we need to be surrounded by objects that tell a story, that make us fall in love with them.
What is your design process? Does it start in the studio, or does inspiration strike you in unexpected ways?
My goal in creating a product is to bring out the unique way SLAMP handcrafts every piece from scratch. Nature inspires me the most, and my design tends to be quite romantic, both which seem to be intrinsically tied together. Every product should be have a magical aura and a touch of poetry. As a designer, holding a material in my hands is essential to translating what I’ve imagined. My strong intuition is always accompanied by determination and consistency, things that have helped me during my career.
Do you have a favorite design or design process story?
The “La Belle Etoile” came from a vague idea of movement, where light literally “danced” at the center of a dark, empty space. I wanted an illuminated explosion from the central source, spreading toward the outside and fluttering through the blank spaces within a room. The result was a floating, sensual dance moving sinuously, much like a prima ballerina on stage. The “La belle Etoile” is just this, centerstage in an emotive, glowing scene. Slamp’s materials and innovative technology were perfect to recreate the shape and magical effect.
Your latest innovation, La Vie seems to have the organic leafy look that has become your signature. What is it made out of? The material seems to be foldable like paper, yet sturdy and translucent like glass. Is this a new material or one you’ve worked with before?
This is part of SLAMP’s “magic”. The patented materials, including lentiflex and opalflex, are technopolymers that let me give physical shape to whatever I can imagine. My pieces are inspired by florals, and these materials, as well as their technology, are the only ones that let me mould these blossoms. The materials and the techniques used to shape them are ways for me to construct an idea, and I love surprising people with the results.
Is the material recycled or eco-friendly? Does the environment (or sustainability) factor into your designs as well?
Of course. Slamp has always chosen to make their products’ manufacturing and lifecycle as low impact as possible. We can’t design if we aren’t thinking about sustainability, and these materials are eco-friendly and 100% recyclable. The products are made to last as long as possible, and have been optimized to allow accessibility and substitution of certain components. Even Slamp’s approach to manufacturing has been designed to make the lowest possible impact on the environment, seeing that the techno polymer sheets undergo cold cutting before being folded by hand. The small amount of leftover cuttings are recycled monthly, eliminating any waste.
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