Willowlamp sets sights on Nando's

(South Africa) - Willowlamp’s Audrey2 range to light up Nando’s restaurants.

Nando’s restaurants focus on bright and bold interiors and feature local designs, sourced via the Nando’s Design Programme, Clout – a dynamic catalogue of South African creativity. Designer lighting company willowlamp has designed a brand-new range of chandeliers that has recently been included on the purchasing portal.

Adam Hoets, founder and creative director of willowlamp, calls the bespoke lighting range ‘Audrey2’, after the carnivorous flower in the classic film Little Shop of Horrors. These colourful, zany chandeliers – which come in combinations of red, black and white and blue, purple and green – are intended to add to Nando’s bright, local-is-lekker ambience. These fun, organic-inspired lights are easily customisable.

“The design is a bit of a departure from willowlamp’s core brand, since the laser-cut metal frames are powder-coated mild steel, not brushed stainless steel, and the design uses very little chain,” says Hoets. “The lights will be available in various sizes and colour choices as the powder-coated frames allow for differentiation.”

The chandeliers stand apart from willowlamp’s signature high-end range – they are lighter, quicker to make, and easier to transport.


Design London launch delayed to 2021

(UK) - Design London confirms postponement of the show’s launch to 22 - 25 September 2021. 

After careful consideration, the organisers have said that by postponing Design London to next year, it will enable them to deliver a launch show that does not compromise what was originally set out for it to achieve.

Design London will be held at Magazine London as originally planned, alongside London’s first purpose-built Design District in North Greenwich. The show has commissioned a number of installations and will be collaborating with celebrated designers – delivering a must-see event during London Design Festival 2021. 


Tom Dixon Coal Office re-opens

(UK) - British designer Tom Dixon announces London-based HQ, The Coal Office will re-open on 18 June with exciting line up of events and activations.

Dixon says: ‘The Coal Office was not going to take the current pandemic sitting down and there was no chance that we were going to hide in our furloughs or isolate ourselves to the point of ignoring the crisis outside. On the contrary. From the moment the nightmare developed, we were thinking of ways that we could adapt to survive and pondering how we could subsequently thrive in the world post lockdown.

"The first action was to open a greengrocer and take-away service immediately following the closing of our restaurant. We also launched a broadcast channel called Tomorrow for more in-depth stories about the design, manufacturing and interior worlds that we inhabit.

"Both activities were so positive that when we re-open our shop and our restaurant this week we will retain and develop these ideas and several more. The opportunity to temporarily close and to rethink everything comes rarely and it would be defeatist to not jump on the possibility this affords and reconsider our headquarters completely.

"We fully intend to utilise our spaces in a more dynamic and flexible way. Blurring the fixed boundaries between retail and restaurant, between private and public spaces, by using more of our outdoor spaces, blending private dining rooms and quiet workspaces, shopping and eating, and adding a few more 21st Century experiences and partnerships to our 20,000sqft of 19th century London brickwork."

The shop’s six expansive arches have been refreshed to display a selection of the brand’s latest collections and most recognised designs, such as Melt, Wingback, Pylon and S-Chair. 

As London prepares to re-open its headquarters, the Hong Kong hub is fully operational and life is returning to normal, while on 18 June, the LA hub fully re-opened. The New York hub will re-open its doors on 6 July, following Independence Day long weekend.


Himmee launches AR Instagram filter

(Finland) - Himmee boosts interior design with Instagram and augmented reality.

What looks good in the shop doesn’t always suit your home the way you thought – and something that didn’t catch your eye in the shop might be just the perfect fit for your home. Finnish Himmee has set out to help people avoid hit-and-misses while shopping by offering an AR solution for testing out the company’s design lights.

Its AR Instagram filter can be used to place its design lights in existing interiors. Using the filter, people can see – almost in real life – how a Himmee lamp would look like in, for example, their living room or bedroom.

“We want our Instagram filter to assist our clients in choosing the perfect light,” explains Timo Niskanen, founder and designer of Himmee. “It can be difficult to imagine what a certain type of light would look like without actually testing it, so we want to lend a helping hand for those struggling to make a choice.”

Himmee’s classic and functional lights suit all kinds of spaces and interiors; but as the company wants to work against single-use and throw-away culture, the filter can help avoid unsuitable purchases or having to ship products back and forth. Now, customers can test the light without the need to buy it first, meaning that they can make the right kind of purchase at once.

“In general, Instagram filters are for fun and just function as part of marketing,” Niskanen notes. “However, we wanted to develop a filter that is actually useful for our clients and good for the environment, too.”

Previously there have been applications that use augmented reality, but many of them require company-specific software. Instagram has over a billion monthly users globally, so using the filter is no extra hassle to intrigued customers.


From the Edge with David Trubridge & wakaNINE

Design Relevance for a changed world - The Future of Living featuring Jason McLennan (Living Future Institute)

From the Edge is a new web video series from wakaNINE & David Trubridge Design, featuring conversations that David Trubridge will have with guests from the global design world. What role can (and should!) design play to define and drive the new “un-normal”?

Studio Italia - The Evolution of a Heritage Brand

The long-established decorative lighting company Studio Italia Design announces a rebrand, marking a new phase in the evolution of the Venetian company on the occasion of its 70th anniversary.

Studio Italia Design announces a rebrand that marks a fundamental step in the evolution of the company, and which takes place in an important year: its 70th anniversary.

The project is discussed in a brief talk moderated by journalist Elisa Massoni and featuring Massimiliano Tosetto (General Manager of Studio Italia Design), Luca Nichetto (Design Curator), Béatrice Ferrari (Brand Naming Expert and Founder of Synesia), Valerio Tamagnini (Co-Founder and Creative Director of Studio Blanco, author of the logo development and brand identity).

Read more on the rebrand here

Studio Italia Design rebrands

(Italy) - Studio Italia Design rebrands to Lodes to mark 70th anniversary.

The long-established decorative lighting company Studio Italia Design has announced its rebrand to Lodes. Signalling an important new phase in the evolution of the Venetian company, while marking a major milestone for the brand on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the official unveiling of the new brand took place on 15 June 2020 with a virtual talk featuring Massimiliano Tosetto, General Manager of Lodes; Luca Nichetto, Design Curator; Béatrice Ferrari, Founder of Synesia; and Valerio Tamagnini, Co-founder and Creative Director of Studio Blanco.

Live-streamed through the Fuorisalone TV platform, and also available on demand until the end of September, the discussion was moderated by journalist Elisa Massoni and explored the inspiration of the new visual identity as well as the process behind its conception.

In 1950 Angelo Tosetto founded a lighting company in Venice, the heart of Italy’s glassmaking region. At that time the company produced artistic lamps in Murano glass. In 1985, the brand adopted a more contemporary designfocused approach and in 1997, it officially became Studio Italia Design.

Today, as part of a strategic vision led by General Manager Massimiliano Tosetto, the third generation of the Tosetto family, the rebrand to Lodes heralds a new era of contemporary design celebrating the company’s principles: Made in Italy essence, craftsmanship excellence, relationships, research and development, and technological innovation.

Lodes reflects the brand’s refreshed approach to manufacturing innovation and contemporary design consolidating the company’s commitment to distinctive decorative design, continuous development and experimentation.

Balancing technical know-how and creativity, the new brand aims to place innovation and design at the centre of the creative process, a brand ethos that was initiated with the appointment of Luca Nichetto as the company’s Design Curator and the development of some of the company’s latest creations, such as the Jefferson lamp.

Massimiliano Tosetto comments: “Lighting is an integral part of the Tosetto family heritage. We have been designing with light for seven decades and our aim is to continue to study and learn from light to create innovative and inspirational lighting for any atmosphere and environment.

“Our new brand encapsulates the evolution of our company into an international leader in the lighting design industry for interiors and for outside spaces. During the recent lockdown, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in our communities, the spaces we live in became central to our lives more so than ever before. With the emphasis on what makes our environments not only safe but also in tune with our wellbeing and comfort, the ‘new normal’ will also embrace the pieces we choose to live with and what can enhance the feeling of contentment in difficult times. We wish for Lodes to be part of these changes to our lives and view this unprecedented experience as a period of learning.”

Luca Nichetto, Design Curator of Lodes said: “As the Design Curator, evolving the creative process of Lodes through product innovation has been one of my main aspirations. Italian design has always made emotion one of its main components, creating a sort of ‘affection’ in the user. The products we are launching today emphasise this need to further expand on the relationship between products and users by blending form and function.

“Today’s design requires a seamless integration of interaction and technological performance to create pieces that not only are aesthetically pleasing, but also serve a function and create a connection.”


LDF 2020 to go ahead

(UK) - London Design Festival organisers confirm event will still take place.

In an official statement released, the organisers said: "In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been looking hard at our options and have consulted our partners, the broad design community, and the Mayor’s office about London Design Festival going ahead in September. 

"The overwhelming consensus is that it should, and that it is important the design community stands together in these challenging times. We want to put the spotlight on the brilliance of London’s design scene at a time when it needs to be promoted more than ever.

"LDF 2020 will of course be different from any other. With very little, if any, international travel, it will be a Festival for Londoners with a strong focus on the local. We are adapting the festival accordingly.

"Over recent years the number of Design Districts has grown. Each one has its own growing personality and enables audiences to walk between different shows. We hope that these local clusters of design will be a defining feature of LDF 2020.

"Like everyone, we are planning greater online activity and are exploring new formats to present design and promote discussion. Audiences are hungry for content, but some will not be able to physically visit different locations. We must make it easy for them to see and hear what design in London has to offer.

"London now has the biggest creative economy of any city in the world and our design reputation is renowned. Showcasing is a key part of the sector and the platform the festival offers is an opportunity to say something. It is important that major events like the festival happen this autumn, not least as a symbol of London’s determination to maintain its creative and cultural leadership. 

"Many are still deciding how they participate. We appreciate that some won’t be able to decide until near to the festival dates, so we are being as flexible as possible with our deadlines. Accordingly, we will re-format the guide to allow printing to happen as late as possible. The digital option can be taken up at any time.

"There is much talk of the ‘new normal’ and we are all trying to adjust to its terms and conditions. We will do everything possible to make this year’s Festival a success for all our partners and an audience hungry for design. We sincerely hope that you will choose to take part in LDF 2020."

London Design Festival is currently scheduled to take place from 12 - 20 September.


Senior Leadership changes at Hubbardton Forge

(USA) - Luxury lighting company, Hubbardton Forge, announcs recent senior leadership changes.

Bubba Sandford has stepped into the CEO role, previously held by Ray Langton who retired in March. Sandford joins the company with extensive C-suite experience as CEO, COO, and President of highly successful, publicly-traded firms, including Sonoma Pharmaceuticals and Command Center, among others.

His strong background in staffing and keen business acumen, gained from experience and his MBA from Cornell University, combined with his service as a US Navy SEAL, Sandford came to Hubbardton Forge at just the right time, helping the company make tactical decisions enabling it to successfully navigate through manufacturing shutdown and reopening to full production in just his first two months.

“I’m excited to join Hubbardton Forge," he says. "We’ve successfully navigated the COVID crisis, and expect to come out of it as a stronger organisation.”

Maria (Scutaro) Mullen has assumed the newly-created role of President and COO at Hubbardton Forge. Widely-known and respected in the lighting industry, Mullen has a long history with Feiss, having held a number of leadership roles over a 11-year period beginning in 1998, culminating in her role there as President of Feiss/Monte Carlo, until the company’s final move to Skokie, IL.

She took a four-year hiatus from 2005-09 to lead the sales efforts at Uttermost. Most recently, Mullen had started Kalizma, a company offering turnkey design-through-production/sourcing of lighting, developing collections for various brands. She comes to Hubbardton Forge with a wealth of knowledge of both the company and the industry. Well-known among industry peers, sales rep’ agencies and customers, Mullen is excited to have the opportunity to assume this leadership role at one of the industry’s most award-winning brands in the lighting industry, saying: “I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible people for great brands in my lighting career and I am thrilled by the opportunity to join the dynamic team at Hubbardton Forge. It is a line I have long admired and I am excited to bring ‘Made in Vermont’ lighting to new heights.”

David Kitts, an 11-year veteran as Design Director of Hubbardton Forge, was recently promoted to the role of V.P. of Design and Product Strategy. Holding a Master’s in Industrial & Product Design from the venerable Pratt Institute, and his Engineering degree from Cornell, Kitts has been responsible not only for some of the company’s most iconic designs, but also for the leadership of the design, engineering and customs teams at the company, including the Hubbardton Forge, Vermont Modern, Synchronicity and Art + Alchemy brands.

“True design talent is what built the Hubbardton Forge brand and David has led that effort for many years,” said the company’s new President, Maria Mullen. “This is a well-deserved promotion and another step in David’s distinguished career.” David reflected, “I’ve been very fortunate to do what I love and be a part of something special here in Vermont with Hubbardton Forge. I look forward to working with both Bubba and Maria as they lead us into the next chapter of our story.”


Artemide repurposes Discovery Space for social distancing

(Italy) - Italian lighting brand repurposes Discovery Space as a tool to help with social distancing within a workspace or restaurant environment.

Interpreting the need to delimit personal spaces with a light that takes care of its users’ well-being as well as creating an engaging atmosphere, rather than a return to the typical cubicle layout, which evokes small and cramped spaces, Discovery - although it provides a solid barrier - can either be transparent or can add ambient light to the room, making it feel a lot more open.

The Artemide team has recently introduced the pieces within its own Pregnana headquarters in Milan, as lockdown restrictions are eased in Italy and companies plan a return to office-based work.

Artemide's Carlotta de Bevilacqua tells darc: “Discovery was first designed in 2015 by Ernesto Gismondi, my husband and founder of Artemide. The Discovery family continued to evolve until today, when we have been able to transform the challenge of social distancing into an opportunity to improve the environmental quality of a space and create a positive and pleasant outcome.

"Discovery Space delimits the personal space, which protects the health of our workers. However, rather than creating closed divisions, it is unique in adding the right light to the environment. This is, in my opinion, the right approach to react to this crisis: to innovate in a disruptive way.

"At Artemide we have always placed a great importance in innovation and we therefore approached this issue in a creative way, for a solution that can be used in our own headquarters as well as more widely in workplaces, restaurants and other open-plan environments.

"With the Artemide App, individuals can personally intervene to manage their own light and create dynamic situations with a 'Human and Responsible Light', and when it is possible, if we want, we can simply reopen the space by changing the installation position, making it a very flexible solution.”

A vertically installed Discovery Space becomes a perfect element to separate workstations or restaurant tables, not only by delineating and protecting but also adding an aesthetically pleasing focal point to the room.

Thanks to its different levels of transparency, Discovery Space has the ability to create various environments depending on the time of day or interior setting. Its light, which can be set to a wide variety of shades from white, to tunable white and coloured, allows for not only an optimally lit space but enhances the psychological and physiological well-being of those using it.

Discovery Space is a piece that is based on minimal geometry. It has a very slimline profile and is incredibly minimally invasive within its environment. Each element acquires volume when it is turned on thanks to the light that draws the central emitting surface. A very light aluminium ring houses an LED strip that injects light into a specially worked surface of transparent PMMA.

The diffuser is composed of a perfectly transparent PMMA surface, processed with microparticles so small that the surface is hardly perceptible when the appliance is turned off. When the appliance is turned on, the transparent interior appears to fill with light as if by magic, as the absence is turned into a perfectly diffusing emitting surface.

Looking ahead to the future, it is a flexible piece that can adapt well to changes in the layout of a space. The same fixture can be suspended vertically, horizontally or according to any other inclination thus allowing in the future to maintain perfect functionality by changing the installation, eliminating the divisions but maintaining correct lighting.


#TalkingToTheUniverse by artist Sophie Usunier


With #TalkingToTheUniverse, Sophie Usunier encourages us to be part of an idea, with an honest open call to take part in the conversation, launched symbolically by Flos.

#TalkingToTheUniverse invites us to reflect on the current time and historical moment, which began in March 2020 as the world found itself facing a pandemic for which the only known cure is human isolation. A moment of impasse, where the world finds itself confined at home. Physical, spatial, social, and emotional confinement.

Nulty Bespoke - The Beauty of Acrylic and Light


Discover more about the artistry of working with acrylic and light, as Nulty Bespoke demonstrates how easy this inexpensive and versatile material can be to work with, and why it shouldn’t be overlooked in the world of decorative lighting. Join the team as they examine how acrylic reacts with light and explore the wealth of artistic finishes that can be used when working with this underrated material.