Evoking Luxury with Lighting

In order to evoke luxury in a space the appropriate lighting design is essential to enhance the overall experience. Making reference to the xx Hotel, Sandra Brookes highlights how creating an exceptional atmosphere for guests is key to get them to stay and to entice them to come back again and again creating a continuous and successful business.

Davide Groppi opens a new Milan store

(Italy) - Davide Groppi opens a new two-level store, via Manzoni 38, in Milan.

The brand’s new store marks another milestone after New York, Seoul, Porto, Mallorca, Piacenza, Parma, Bologna, Verona. Designed with the 967arch studio, Milano Manzoni 38 spans over 200sqm and distributed over two levels.

Davide Groppi says: “In 1998 I opened my first shop in Milan, in via Medici. I was scared and excited at the same time, but I understood that Milan was important and over time I learned to love it. Today it is one of my places. The space in via Medici has changed over the years along with the company, but it is there that I have always expressed all my passion for light. Today I feel the need to find another place for my creations. And 25 years later, I find myself here, excited, in the centre of Milan, in one of its most exclusive areas, via Manzoni. The thrill of 1998 is the same, and the desire to reveal all our luminous stories, our alphabet, and our syntax is the same. Via Manzoni will be a place of meeting, representation, and seduction. Thanks to everyone: to my collaborators, to my friends, to all the people who believed in me.”

Messe Frankfurt acquires stake in LightFair

(Germany) - Light + Building brand network grows to 13 events worldwide with latest partnership.

Believed to be a 33% share, with Illuminating Engineering Society and International Association of Lighting Designers owning the rest, Messe Frankfurt will now organise the five-day trade fair alongside a conference.

With more than 500 exhibiting companies and thousands of top buyers, LightFair is the largest event for architectural and commercial lighting in North America. Focusing primarily on forward-looking innovations, an experience-oriented exhibition space, a great many new products, networking and a wide range of training opportunities, LightFair sets new standards for light design and innovative lighting technologies in the US.

Wolfgang Marzin, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt, says: “With the vast experience of our partners IALD and IES in North America and Messe Frankfurt’s track record as an organiser of leading international building technology trade fairs, we are pooling our shared strengths. This strategic decision also enables us to bring our expertise to bear in the USA.”

Constantin von Vieregge, President, and CEO of Messe Frankfurt’s US subsidiary Messe Frankfurt, says: “The signing of this agreement brings together the expertise of Messe Frankfurt – known for its successful track record in organising world-class trade events with Light + Building, the world’s leading trade fair for lighting and building technology – and the visionary approach of associations IES and IALD in the realm of commercial lighting. The synergies we share mark a significant step towards advancing the industry and promise an unparalleled platform for industry professionals, innovators, and stakeholders.”

Christopher Knowlton, Chief Executive Officer of the IALD adds: “The IALD is thrilled to partner with Messe Frankfurt for LightFair and is eager to reinvent the international trade show and conference. The partnership will amplify the event’s ability to showcase cutting-edge lighting innovations and connect directly with the lighting community in the United States and beyond. As this next evolution of LightFair opens its doors to broader audiences, the IALD welcomes the fostering of collaboration and inspiration within the lighting industry that will come from this international alliance. This new stage in LightFair’s development will open up new possibilities for reaching a larger audience. This is why IALD welcomes wholeheartedly the increased cooperation and inspiration within the lighting industry that this international alliance will bring about.

LightFair is now part of the Light + Building technology fairs around the world. The flagship fair is Light + Building, which takes place in Frankfurt am Main every two years and will open its doors between 3 and 8 March this year.

LightFair 2025 will be held in Las Vegas between 4 and 8 May.


Federico Fiermonte

The brand new, brutalist-style, sculptural light Spira was presented at 2023’s Material Matters exhibition as part of London Design Festival.

Spira’s creator, Italian Federico Fiermonte is based in Helsinki, Finland and has only been designing and creating objects, experimenting with materials, and developing skills since 2021.

It is a spiral-shaped lamp, described by Fiermonte as “elegant, dynamic and delicate”. “It plays on the contrasts between a light and dynamic shape derived from nature, with an artificial, heavy, and robust material such as concrete, all with an added decorative touch given by the internal light that runs along the slender shape”, he adds.

The spiral shape is a common thread that runs through a lot of Fiermonte’s designs, something he explains as an “unintentional” consideration in his work.

“I envision this product primarily as a collector’s item, given its deeply artisanal creative process, which ensures that each piece is distinctly unique. When placed within a space, the Spira lamp is carefully designed to blend into its surroundings, asserting its presence with elegance. 

“It effectively embodies the robust nature of the material that constitutes its essence, evoking a “brutalist” aesthetic. At the same time, as a decorative object, it generates a surprising contrast when placed in a minimalist environment, lending an unexpected element while curiously maintaining a sense of harmony within the environment.

“Exploring the interplay between light and concrete, I wanted to analyse my profound fascination for the field of architecture,” he continues.

“Concrete has made it possible to realise remarkable structures throughout architectural history, ranging from the iconic Pantheon dome in Rome where I come from, to complex constructions such as the Ganter bridge in the Swiss Alps. Within the context of architecture, I have always been captivated by the potential inherent in concrete. Spira draws great inspiration from the elegant spiral staircases of high-end buildings across the world with particular care of those part of the modernist style.

“For me, the key to achieving a harmonious and cohesive environment depends on the intrinsic relationship between design aesthetics and architectural materials.

“A line that guided me in the creation of this product - and which I think is always a characteristic feature of my way of conceiving objects - is to respect precise mathematical and geometric parameters, which vary from project to project.

“Working with light fascinates me enormously through the attempt of sculpting and giving shape to something so intangible and eternal.”

The concrete used by Fiermonte is composed of recycled aggregates to aim for a more sustainable product. The concrete is cast in a 3D printed mould made up of five parts, which proved challenging to create due its complex shape. “The most significant difficulty in making this piece was the creation of a mould that could lead to a clean and optimal result and produce precise edges. Making the mould is in fact 70% of the physical production work and it’s constantly being developed as I add improvements while continuing to work on the product,” he explains.

“In the initial stages, I experimented with compact foam moulds milled with CNC technique, subsequently I experimented with a silicone mould supported by plaster, and finally reaching the best result with a 3D printed mould with PLA made up of five parts.

“The particularly simple shape is complicated to obtain by casting the concrete, especially to remove once it has solidified.

“Within the lamp’s structure lies an armature crafted from hand-bent and welded rods, sourced from reclaimed metal waste, as well as aggregates repurposed from debris of different sizes (one to four millimetres) collected in the Otaniemi area in Espoo near Helsinki within the construction industry.

“For the functioning elements of the lamp I have been using a 12V DC transformer and a thin LED COB strip light. The implementation of a COB-type LED light strip allows the individual LEDs to be very close to each creating a seamless line of light that integrates perfectly within the design based on curves and lines.”

He continues: “Crafting an interior piece in concrete, using a recipe divergent from those employed in construction or infrastructure, offers a notable advantage. In this context, there is no imperative to meet specific standards of strength or durability like most structures that are concrete made. This liberates the creative process, fostering a greater degree of flexibility and experimentation, allowing for more focus on other artistic and design aspects.

“The choice to use concrete was partly driven by my desire to challenge public perception surrounding a material that I find captivating from an aesthetic standpoint, both in an attempt to highlight the beauty that can be obtained through this material and by taking it to its extremes. 

“At the same time, I aimed to contribute to a more sustainable production approach by selecting components and conscientiously repurposing other waste elements.”

Once Fiermonte had settled on the design for Spira, his primary goal was to not change or make any compromises on the shape. This greatly impacted the process of creating and developing the mould. But it was all worth it for the designer as he achieved what he set out to, and all within just over a year.


Charlie Bowles

As we move into 2024, Charlie Bowles, Director at Original BTC, shares his thoughts about sustainability being a continued trend in both product and lighting design. He also comments on the continued drive to making home life more comforting as we continue to spend more time there.

In the ever-evolving world of lighting design, 2023 brought forth a notable shift towards sustainability, with a particular emphasis on the use of natural materials and a reduced reliance on plastics. This ever-emerging trend, which is sure to continue to gain momentum into 2024, marks a significant stride towards eco-conscious practices within the design industry.

This increased incorporation of natural materials, replacing the use of plastics in lighting fixtures, has become more popular recently. This not only aligns with environmental concerns but also introduces a refreshing aesthetic into living spaces.

The move towards sustainability is further underscored by the sustained popularity of portable rechargeable lights. Beyond the environmental benefits of not using as much energy and lowering carbon emissions, these portable lights offer newfound flexibility and convenience, allowing users to adapt their lighting solutions to different spaces and occasions and thereby offers practical solutions for modern living. These lights provide a mobile and versatile lighting solution that adapts to various settings, reducing the need for fixed, energy-consuming fixtures.

The integration of technology and sustainability will also continue to be a notable aspect of lighting design in 2024. The choice to focus on sustainability in lighting design isn’t merely a passing fad; it represents a conscientious effort to address environmental challenges and reduce the ecological footprint of design practices. By utilising natural materials, designers contribute to the reduction of material waste, a critical concern in a world grappling with environmental degradation. This shift is not just about aesthetics; it’s about making a tangible and lasting impact on the planet.

As we move into 2024, the anticipation is that the focus on sustainability will persist, with an optimistic outlook towards products designed for longevity. A commitment to crafting designs that stand the test of time is crucial for fostering a more eco-friendly future. Rather than succumbing to fleeting trends, the emphasis is placed on creating timeless pieces that contribute to sustainability and bring enduring joy to consumers for years to come.

The intersection of sustainability and aesthetic appeal becomes even more pronounced when we consider the rising prominence of soft, earthy colours in lighting design. This trend can be attributed to the desire for a more playful and organic vibe in living spaces, with muted, nature-inspired hues such as sage green and warm beige taking centre stage. The use of these colours complements natural light and also creates a serene and inviting atmosphere, transforming the way we experience our surroundings.

Simultaneously, the continued integration of natural fabrics in lighting design is expected to play a pivotal role. Materials such as ceramic, known for its tactile appeal, add a touch of sophistication and enhance the diffusion of light. This choice aligns seamlessly with the broader eco-conscious movement, offering environmentally-conscious homeowners an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable option. It is a testament to the growing awareness within the design community of the interconnectedness between aesthetic choices and environmental impact.

Furthermore, as the pursuit of wellness and comfort takes centre stage in home design, the demand for lighting that sets a soft, relaxed mood is on the rise. Adjustable and dimmable lighting options are becoming increasingly prevalent, allowing homeowners to tailor the intensity and colour temperature of their lighting sources to suit their preferences. This personalised approach enhances the ambiance of living spaces and profoundly contributes to a sense of well-being. As the population increasingly spends more time in their homes, they are taking a more intentional approach to design, keeping in mind how they want to feel in the space. As such, investing in their furniture and lighting has become increasingly important to create a true sanctuary within the home.

In conclusion, the lighting design trends of 2023 lay a promising foundation for a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing future. From the embrace of natural materials to the continued popularity of portable rechargeable lights and the anticipated rise of soft, earthy colours and natural fabrics, the trajectory of lighting design in 2024 holds exciting possibilities. The choices we make in lighting design not only shape our living spaces but also contribute to a brighter, more sustainable future for all.


Daniel Blaker

Daniel Blaker, Creative Director at Nulty, discusses the lighting details to be considered when designing a lobby, and how it can be used to establish the tone of the space.

Entering a lobby should feel like a warm embrace. A beautifully curated welcome that creates a strong first impression and immediately gives you a sense of the occupant’s character and personality. Light has an important role to play here because it has the power to change the tempo and set the tone, so the way that we weave a lighting scheme together needs to be carefully balanced and emotionally driven. While a designer’s approach varies according to whether it’s a commercial space where typically brighter finishes are required, or a hotel where warmer tones are the order of the day, our design intent is simple - a lobby environment should make an impact and feel like the pinnacle of the experience set to unfold. 

Before we consider the specifics of incorporating a decorative luminaire or a feature installation, it’s important to step back and unpick the design narrative and purpose of that scheme. What are we trying to say with that space? Who is the scheme intended for and how will it be used? Is it simply a transition space that’s sole purpose is to guide its occupants through to a particular spot. Or should it encompass the welcoming spirit of a concierge and be a space of emotion and connection. It’s likely to be the latter because lobby environments are evolving to become social landscapes that serve multiple purposes, so co-working spaces and casual meeting areas are being embedded into the design. Designing for diversity of purpose is a skill that the lighting designer is becoming increasingly adept at. Often it means pulling a rabbit out of a hat by weaving different lighting techniques together in one single scheme. The trick is how we master the hierarchy of the space; the magic takes place when we design in layers.

First things first, we need to think about how light can be used to influence the way that people move around the space. As the eye is drawn to the brightest point, we can aid wayfinding and improve permeability by using light where it’s needed most to create a dwell point or pause moment such as a reception area or concierge desk, or to guide users to the next stage of their journey by accenting a lift lobby or staircase.

Next, we need to think about what materials are being illuminated and how they receive light. Most of the lit environment is perceived through how effectively the vertical surfaces are illuminated (as opposed to the floor), so when a person enters a space from the outside world, they shouldn’t feel like they are walking into a cave. If we have taken the time to properly illuminate the elevations, the transition should feel seamless.

Finally, we need to make the space sing, come alive and feel unique - this is where a focal point such as a bespoke chandelier or a theatrical lighting installation comes into play. When decorative lighting is thoughtfully curated, it can elicit an emotional response by imprinting a hotel experience in a person’s mind, reinforcing a company’s visual identity in a workplace, or giving pause for reflection in a residential setting. If we get it right, it’s a stylistic intervention that becomes an expression of the wider interior design narrative.

Too often a decorative lighting piece in a lobby is an off-the-shelf response, which is a missed opportunity because creation isn’t just specification, it’s about how form, materials, finishes, and light come together to create something special. Commissioning a piece for a lobby is a chance to have a little bit of fun by adding a creative stroke to that scheme, or weaving in something unexpected that gives it an extra punch of personality.  All of this brings us back to our original design mantra - make an impression! This should be the raison d’etre of a decorative luminaire or lighting piece in a lobby space, but it’s important to remember that these standalone lighting elements can’t be expected to enhance an interior space on their own. They need a sprinkle of magic in the form of delicately balanced layers of light that prevent them from becoming featureless and formless.

The key to activating the characteristics of a decorative lighting piece depends entirely on the composition, scale, materiality, sense of movement, and ambience that you are looking to create. In some cases, the feature itself is the light source, and whilst this does inherently provide its own expression, it typically delivers a modest performance that is at best functional light. Considered use of architectural lighting can make all the difference. If we want to add a strong dose of sparkle, we need to balance multiple light sources around a fitting to increase the level of refractions and reflections. And, if we are looking to make a feature soar, incorporating imperceivable up lighting will help it ascend.

A harmonious dialogue between architectural and decorative lighting will, without fail, result in a more resonant environment. Staging an experience is fundamental to the success of a lobby environment, and while decorative elements are typically not wall flowers, they need a little bit of help to be teased out of the shadows.


Studio Sløyd

The new Archive table lamp from Northern is the result of a collaboration with designers Studio Sløyd. darc’s editor chats with the duo about their first venture into the world of designing lights and how Northern’s Jonas Norheim helped them along the way.

The Archive table lamp is the first collaboration between Nordic design brand Northern and fellow Norwegians, Studio Sløyd.

The collaboration was established during Designers’ Saturday, one of Oslo’s largest and most important design events.

An open competition was hosted to aid in building relationships between designers and manufacturers. Five design briefs were sent out by the manufacturers to which designers could respond. Northern’s brief for a lamp design received approximately 40 different proposals from roughly the same number of designers. Eventually, the team chose Studio Sløyd to be their partners.

Following the acceptance of Sløyd’s design, Northern was then tasked with developing a prototype, which was to be displayed at the next Designers’ Saturday event that takes place every other year. Once the final design is completed, the brand has a choice on whether to release the design back to the design studio who can take it to another manufacturer, or to keep and produce the piece themselves; Northern chose to keep and produce the design.

darc sat down with Herman Ødegaard and Mikkel Jøraandstad of Studio Sløyd, and Jonas Norheim, Director of Northern to find out more about the studio as well as their collaboration on Archive.

“We both grew up in Oslo, Norway,” says Ødegaard. We both attended and met, at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The school had a big focus on service and interaction design, so when we found we had a common interest in furniture, we collaborated on a school project and thus, the studio was created.”

Jøraandstad adds: “We established Studio Sløyd because we wanted to keep creating furniture together. We are also good friends, so we thought that starting a studio, and making a career together would be just perfect. The studio was established in 2019.”

When discussing design principals and approaches, darc discovers longevity is key for the young designers. “It can be an expectation that a young design studio is focused on creating objects with a certain “out there” concept and shape, and this can cause objects with a contemporary and short lifespan. We want to create furniture with a long lifespan,” explains Ødegaard. “But it can be challenging to design something completely unique, and something a lot of people want to fill their homes with. It is a big reward when we feel like we have fulfilled both these criteria, as we have with the Archive lamp.

“We think that a long lifespan both in quality and in design is important. For us, prototyping is also important for our process. With the Archive lamp we prototyped using regular A4 sheets of paper. This caused the lamp to be sleek and minimalistic. We also think that a good relationship between the designer and the producer is essential to create furniture that both parties can be proud of.”

Norheim’s first impressions of the studio’s design submission was that they found something that would fit in nicely with Northern’s branding.

He describes it as a “nice lamp, timeless character, and something new”.

Making the prototypes for the Archive lamp from paper allowed the team to perfect the soft curves of the lamp. It was then down to Sløyd’s materials-focused approach to recreate these smooth curves in striking steel.

“Archive is made from steel and stainless steel,” explains Norheim. “For this lamp, the materials choice was a given, because of its shape. There are a lot of curves and small details, which are very suited to steel. Also, it gives it a fine quality and will make it last for a lifetime.”

Jøraandstad continues: “We used paper to prototype the lamp at the beginning of the process, which also played a part in the inspiration for the lamp. The shape is made up of an elongated cylindrical lampshade in stainless steel, which reflects the light downwards. The end of the cylinder is capped with an angled piece of steel that not only creates an interesting composition, but helps the light reflect onto a wider area. The table lamp has two bent pieces of steel that form the base as well as a visual counterpart to the lampshade. The shape of the base lets the light travel down along the two pieces and creates an interesting gradient of light towards the ground.

“We discussed making it in aluminium, but the weight of the lamp in the final product with steel feels right, and it really feels and looks like a quality product.”

Before embarking on this project with Northern, the Sløyd duo’s experience in design was mostly built upon wooden furniture, so the working relationship they built with Nornheim was invaluable as they developed skills and knowledge in metalwork.

“We had a meeting with Jonas shortly after the announcement of the winners, where we discussed the processes further. Northern was very open minded and assisted us with all the help we needed in the design process, but it was very clear that we should do the big design decisions. We really appreciated the trust from them,” says Ødegaard.

“Getting the opportunity to work with the very experienced people at Northern has been very educational for us. Not only does Jonas have a lot of good advice when it comes to the production aspect, but he is also a great designer, so we feel very lucky that we got to collaborate and discuss the design with him along the way.

“Working on a new kind of object and a new material is always challenging. We had never made a lamp before, and the complexity of all the parts and components was a new chapter for us. Northern made it easy for us to understand, but this was probably the most challenging aspect of the process.”

Nornheim adds: “I think the working relationship was a good one. This was their first lamp in production. So, I believe they learned a thing or two. Heman and Mikkel are fast workers, so every time there was some changes needed to be made, they fixed them right away. That is something which is very important when you are developing a lamp in such a short time.”

The Archive features a replaceable LED lamp and a three-step dimmer switch, which is integrated as a design feature. It is available in two colour ways and two sizes, which were carefully thought out. “In the development of the Archive lamp, we explored a spectrum of colour combinations and sizes to discover the most harmonious fit for the intended environments - be it a desk, sideboard, or console,” explains Northern. “After thorough consideration, we narrowed it down to two sizes that perfectly cater to these spaces.

“As for the colour selection, we were drawn to dark green/light grey and black/steel. These particular hues naturally stood out, not only complementing the lamp’s design but also embodying a sense of versatility and timeless elegance that aligns with our vision for the product.

“Naming a new product at Northern is a comprehensive and meticulous process. We conduct numerous workshops to find a name that not only resonates with the essence of the product but also aligns with our brand identity. For the Archive table lamp, we went through an extensive list of over 20 potential names. Ultimately, Archive stood out because it evoked the same emotions and characteristics as the lamp itself, perfectly capturing its spirit and the timeless elegance we strive for in our designs.”



Wembley by Ark

Introducing the boat in the sky, the latest addition to the co-living sector in London, Wembley by Ark. Interior Architects Holloway Li took on the challenge of creating a new kind of community living space, using inspiration from London’s homes such as canal boats to classic terraced houses.

Award winning interior architects Holloway Li unveiled its ambitious nautical design for co-living brand Ark in Wembley in September 2023. The London studio transformed the former hotel, while still taking cues from the hospitality setting, and created a rejuvenating retreat around community-centric values.

When imagining an enhanced approach to community-focused living Hollaway Li said it drew inspiration from the hospitality environments. “The client was aware of our work with Locke Hotels and wanted to bring that lifestyle driven hospitality approach to the project,” says the studio’s Managing Director, Na Li. After 18 months the project was complete with a design that works for the flexible lifestyles that have come in the aftermath of the pandemic but, in a way that makes working from home both comfortable and enjoyable.

Li further expressed that configuring the former hotel space into the client’s brief and accounting for the various co-living spaces was one of biggest challenges the designers faced. The project encompasses 300 residential spaces with ample shared facilities such as a resident’s lounge, co-working space, a gym, multimedia room, meeting rooms, and a rooftop pavilion and terrace. The latter was added as a brand-new architectural feature, a new challenge for the Holloway Li designers, with full panoramic views of Central London. The terrace’s design acts almost as a ship’s hull where people can relax and picture themselves soaring through the sky as if mid-voyage. 

Li describes the project as “drawing influence from spatial design of nautical living, from London canal boats to luxury cruise vessels, while paying homage to classic terraced housing, on a grand scale” - while also making a playful nod to the building’s name, Ark. Each resident’s studio takes inspiration from canal boat design; utilising joinery elements like textured and translucent screens, as well as partitioned seating areas, the rooms achieve a harmonious blend of flexibility, modularity, and spatial efficiency. The studios are distinguished from one another through three subtle colour palettes – sage, sand, and taro – maintaining a neutral back drop that allows residents to infuse their own character and personal touch to a space so it can feel feel like home.

Li says: “We researched the traditional design vernacular of canal boats in depth, borrowing spatial elements to create studios that felt spacious with pockets of intimacy.” The selection of decorative lighting played a crucial role in enhancing this spatial quality. The inclusion of Moooi’s Random Light II and &Traditions’ Formakami lights, were pivotal features in elevating the overall airy ambience and domestic charm of the space. Opting for various paper shade lights, these emit a soft, gentle glow that disperse a warmth in all directions, enveloping the surroundings and creating a cosy, inviting atmosphere within one’s personal space.

The main entrance lounge and co-working area are situated on the ground floor, the space takes cues from the spatial planning of London terraced houses on a grand scale, while finishes are reminiscent of a hotel lobby or luxury sailing vessel. Furnished with four, 16-seater co-working tables, booth seating, a grab-and-go breakfast island, and private meeting booths, the space allows for casual gatherings and quiet zones for concentration - meeting the varying needs of post-pandemic lifestyles.

The shared areas are also adorned with furnishings such as floor and table lamps, richly patterned cushions, large oversized pendant lamps, and rattan chairs, the design immediately sets the tone and evokes the sense of ‘home’. The use of lighting through the design not only functioned to embellish the space but kept cohesion between the design narrative and the brief’s expectations.

“We used soft, warm lighting throughout to ensure the space felt inviting and comfortable while maximising the natural light available where possible” says Li. “In the co-working space for example, it was crucial the lighting nurtured productivity and comfort in equal measure, with options for adjustable lighting to cater to residents’ live-work needs. We strategically placed the pendant lights at eye level - serving as focal points within the space, while the floor lamps act as natural partitions within the expansive open-plan layout, effectively defining distinct zones to create a more intimate and inviting ambiance,” says Li.

Ark’s rental concept is on a mission to change the way people stay and experience London through its flexible community-centric rental concept. Holloway Li has a similar mission in its own work, as Li puts it, “we enjoyed the challenge of working on a new typology - we’re interested in reshaping modes of living and this project did exactly that.” Holloway Li successfully layed out the blueprint for the interior of this new generation of residential life, using ample amounts of creativity and flair without sacrificing the practicality and certainly not comfort. “We were really proud of the project - the co-living sector is ever-evolving, and we hope with what we have created with Ark will offer a new and nourishing mode of living for those who reside within” concludes Li.


BlackSwan Studio

Montreal-based interior design firm Espace 313 has created a monochromatic and graphic studio, enhanced with elegant lighting, for tattooists at BlackSwan. 

Situated in the heart of Montreal, Canada BlackSwan tattoo studio is a hub for inked artists to congregate in the unassuming destination that presents a unique character.

BlackSwan is designed by Espace 313 as a bespoke environment imbued with unapologetic elegance. “In an era of increasing tattoo democratisation since the beginning of the century, as well as a desire for personal affirmation and ownership of one’s own body, the tattoo salon offering has continued to grow, with a desire to differentiate itself from the sometimes-intimidating appearance typically associated with these places,” says Gatline Artis, owner and lead designer at Espace 313. “It is in this perspective that the client approached us with the ambition to reinvent the traditional image of the tattoo salon, favouring a soft and refined aesthetic.”

Utilising the existing space, the team added contrasting conceptual interventions merged with a contemporary artistic spirit. Espace 313 wanted to showcase raw and distinctive materiality throughout.

Upon entering, the blend of materials and textures sets the tone for the studio. A plaster covered reception desks draws your attention before revealing an enigmatic metal sculpture that rises in front of a delicate white veil that filters soft light. Hanging above the reception desk is Michael Anastassiades’ Mobile Chandelier 9 fixture. The delicate pieces hang beautifully balanced in an arrangement of linear tubes, geometric lighting sources, reflective surfaces, and counterbalancing weights. They rotate freely, creating an ever-changing lighting configuration.

Taking inspiration from a tattoo on pale skin, the team aspired to integrate distinctive dark elements onto a bright canvas, and ultimately using the element of contrast as a pillar of the design concept.

At the heart of the project is the welcoming lounge. Furniture takes on curved forms and a splash of plum colour is woven into the space, which adds a touch of “vivacity and contrasts with the vegetation already present”. &Tradition’s Formakami pendants, by Jaime Hayon, cluster above the seating area, reinforcing the curvature forms of the furniture. The pendants are a contemporary expression of the traditional Asian lanterns, hand crafted with ivory white rice paper and black stained oak accents.

The lounge area is bathed in an abundance of natural light, but the centrepiece of the tattooing space is a large sculptural light installation, which is “subtly evoking the unfolding of a swan’s wings and echoing the studio’s graphic identity”. The black Vega Minor fixtures used to create this installation, by Kuzco, are a diminutive square linear profile that envelops and radiates a soft uniform light, and again adds to the monochromatic scheme of the space.

Taking this minimalist approach in design goes against the typical aesthetic of tattoo studios. The clean lines and tones give an impression of sterility and cleanliness, and a lack of decoration on the walls and non-customisation of workstations was a deliberate choice by the owner. Instead of imposing an artist’s identity on the space, an emphasis is solely placed on the artwork created in the tattoo designs.


David Village Lighting Introduce a Dedicated Specification Support Team

(UK) - David Village Lighting (DVL) have announced the launch of a Specification Support Department, offering free of charge guidance and assistance with technical brands including Flos, Vibia, Artemide and Bega.

Being representatives of 100 of the world’s leading designer brands, the company has expanded its offering to better services for those partners.  For example, offering support with the use of brand configurators, technical information, or aesthetic-led advice. A dedicated team are on-hand to support the early stages of projects ensuring that lighting can take centre stage.

James Village, Managing Director at DVL says: “Having communicated with our design and specification partners over the years, we’ve found that there’s an unfulfilled need for further support on the more technical elements of the products we’re able to supply. With this in mind, we’ve expanded our service to reflect this, and look forward to providing the support that’s missing from the market.”


International Contemporary Furniture Fair unveils rebrand

(USA) – International Contemporary Furniture Brand (ICFF) has unveiled its new branding in line with the show’s 35th anniversary.

ICFF, to be held 19-21 May at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, has unveiled a new campaign designed to highlight its marketing evolution under the direction of Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat. The strategy includes solidifying ICFF’s role as a business accelerator, transforming the brand into a 365-day-a-year platform. Clarifying its objective of being at the centre of design culture, community, and commerce.

Inspired by New York City, the rebrand is said to reflect ICFF’s hometown. Designed by award-winning creative agency, forceMAJEURE, the logo features a heavy wordmark reminiscent of the densely populated city juxtaposed with a lighter typeface that symbolises its softer side.

forceMAJEURE redesigned the logo of a black square and four letters and added colour to represent each distinct ICFF features yellow for Wanted (forceMAHJUEURE also designed its visual identity), green for Oasis (which focuses on sustainability), and blue for the new Bespoke area (which centres around high-end craftsmanship), with plans to add more in the future. Using colour brings a sense of excitement and warmth to a brand that is repositioning itself.

Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, ICFF Brand Directors, says: “We want to shift away from a more corporate identity to mark a new chapter for ICFF. By reimagining the brand’s core, we are unveiling a fresh look, positioning the show as the leading North American contemporary design fair at the forefront of the industry. Our goal is to inspire, engage, and support design companies and enable success. This direction affirms our commitment to design excellence beyond the show and infuses an energy and creativity that speaks to emerging audiences.”

The forceMAJEURE team adds: “Our vision for ICFF is highly connected to New York City, its home.  The city truly embodies everything the brand communicates.  It is bold and universally recognised. It is international. It is a portal to the U.S. market, where dreams are accelerated, and inspiration is plentiful. Taking a birds-eye view of the city and its iconic grid, we see large blocks from the avenues of buildings and observe an infinite sense of modularity. The elevated new logo embodies the functional and emotional allure of ICFF, evoking confidence and innovation but also creative possibilities.”