Market Talent: Captain Organic
Karen D. Singh and Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 8/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
What could be a better indication of a prolific career than a bulging portfolio? A nickname. After nearly 30 years of free-flowing futurism—dreamed up on behalf of entities from Bernhardt Design to British Airways—Ross Lovegrove has earned the handle Captain Organic. While his recent lighting for Artemide may epitomize that alias more than any other work to date, two of the designs are also, ironically, among the most technologically complex efforts in his repertoire.
Aiming to reconcile the "most advanced technologies with the beautification of our collective environment," Lovegrove says, he teamed up with Sharp Solar on Solar Tree: an 18-foot-high bouquet of curved steel stalks, each topped by a plastic flower containing an LED bulb and a photovoltaic cell. During the day, the cells generate energy to recharge a battery pack that sits next to the blocky base of reinforced concrete; at dusk, the LEDs automatically illuminate. Solar Tree was first installed outside Vienna's Museum für Angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst and later traveled to the streets of Frankfurt and Milan. A modified version appeared at the city's Salone Internazionale del Mobile last spring.
The Mercury series of pendant fixtures developed as a meditation on hydrodynamics and reflectivity. Each chandelier comprises two kinds of shiny pastilles, like supersize mercury drops. Die-cast aluminum ones house an R7 halogen source; injection-molded thermoplastic ones are purely reflectors, multiplying the light, the others, and their surroundings. Introduced this year at Frankfurt's Light + Building, the Mercury Cluster packs the pastilles into a tight colony. 631-694-9292; artemide.us. circle 412
From top: Mercury Cluster comprises a custom number of lamps and metallic-painted plastic reflectors, all suspended from a thermoplastic canopy. Ross Lovegrove started to design lighting for Artemide in 2006. Solar Tree was installed in front of La Scala in Milan for one month. The tour began outside Vienna's Museum für Angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst. Solar Tree can shine just about as brightly as a conventional streetlamp, casting 12,500 lumens of LED light.
August Lighting Special
Don't miss our other lighting features:
Market Micro: Michelle Brand's Cascade
A close-up of an eco-friendly chandelier.
Intervention: Jellyfish, Where Is Your Sting?
Medusa by sculptor Timothy Horn.