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Dutch Designers Light Up Luminale

Twelve new talents presented their work at the Frankfurt Luminale lighting festival this April.


By Katie Dominy / 22-04-2010

Staged every two years in Frankfurt to coincide with lighting trade fair Light + Building, Luminale is a platform for designers, artists and architects to promote their work in new ways, using venues scattered around the city. Located close to the river, the exhibition was curated by Lambert Kamps, an artist and designer based in Groningen. Kamps is known for his site-specific installations and likes to work between art, architecture and design.

We asked Kamps how he came to curate the show: "The Luminale organiser Herr Bien asked me to organize an exhibition of Dutch lighting designs. I met him a few years ago in Milan where he invited me to take part in the Luminale of 2008, where I showed my work. Now, in 2010 I selected 12 young Dutch designers with inspiring fresh work. Half of the group I already knew and half of them were new to me. I wanted to have very different objects, otherwise it would become a lamp store. The idea behind the exhibition design was that it would give the visitor the feeling that there was no routing but an environment in which you could walk around and discover the objects."

Maaike Roozenburg’s
Crate Lighting collection mixes injection-moulded plastic crates with Eastern lantern crafts. Roozenburg explains, ‘Polypropylene vegetable- and transport crates are a modern mass-product used in supermarkets, agriculture and many industries. The shape of these crates is not designed to be aesthetic but to be functional…..The polypropylene crate is an example of a completely standardized product that was industrially shaped and refined until it became one of the prototypes of mass-production. These pure pragmatic criteria give the crate a certain unique and honest aesthetic. By combining these crates with a tailor-made covering of refined crêpe de Chine silk the beauty of the object is being emphasized and enriched…By turning on the lamp, a rich grid pattern is revealed.’

Martijn Westphal exhibited two works: Bird, a hanging lamp with cut-out flying birds, inspired by ornithology and modern media and Softy, a cushion-like padded light available in a wide range of different prints and fabrics, from designs of homely colourful florals and ginghams to wild-west showgirls.

Jauke van den Brink’s Construction hours and minutes is a lighting project made especially for Luminale. Van der Brink explains: ‘This work is my interpretation of time and my attempt to make time visible and tangible in space. The installation is a steel frame carrying an array of fluorescent tubes organized in a manner to create a functioning digital clock in three dimensions. The time it shows is the fourth dimension –an abstract concept. With every passing minute, a changing and fascinating show of light demonstrates how time and space are inextricably connected and how neither can exist without the other.’

Lola Hesp’s Brainlight is a ‘brain-like’ light made from nylon rope that is custom-made for each person – the curves and patterns in each Brainlight differing as a result of the answers (1 to 5, totally disagree….totally agree) to a series of statements asked by Hesp, ranging from statement one ‘I am chaotic’ to statement ten, ‘I find it difficult to communicate.’

Studio Elmo Vermijs presented Cubelamps – a series of lights with a strong recycling message. The lights are made from recycled canvas with Velcro fastenings and hang from the ceiling through an electricity cable that is would around a wooden spool on the floor.

The coens studio of Coen Hoogstraten came to Luminale with its prototype of etree – eclectroluminescent leaves. Hoogstraten explains how an electroluminescent material (EL) produces light when it is subject to an electric current, with a limited intensity and colour spectrum. The etree lamp symbolically references the elements of a tree. A trunk forms the base of the lamp and the branches, which power the leaves, can bend and can change the total appearance of the tree. The etree is being produced in small quantities and will be available by this September.

Elegant fairytale swans were the inspiration for Zhenni Tian’s Swan lamps. The lamps are simply made from sheets of Tyvek paper sewn together and folded, with no extra hidden support. The lamps have a delicate leather base and slim wooden stands, all designed to ‘bring the Swan to life.’ The hanging Swan light has an ultra lightweight electric cable, allowing it to swing gently when people walk around, as if it’s actually alive.
Erik Stehmann, a 2009 graduate from ArtEZ Product Design course, came to Frankfurt with his Inflating Lights, designed to create a playful interaction. The lights inflate when turned on and deflate when turned off, due to small ventilators that recollect energy from the light bulb itself.

Jetske de Groot brought along her Pop-up light made from second hand children’s books. De Groot says: ‘The beautifully illustrated pages from the books are folded and carved to spread a subtle light, which translates the delicate pictures of children's stories of fantasy and joy into a lamp creating an imaginary atmosphere.’

The exhibition also included work by Jack Brandsma, Laurens van Wieringen and curator Lambert Kamps.

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