Fumie Shibata – Bonbori

This year, Czech lighting brand Brokis has launched its first outdoor lighting collection in collaboration with Japanese designer Fumie Shibata. Inspired by Japan’s traditional lighting patterns, darc learns more on how she used the style of bonbori – an iconic paper lantern used in local and traditional ceremonies for this collection.

How did you first meet Brokis?

I’ve always wanted to design lighting fixtures and other products with glass, and my agent suggested the Czech glass brand Brokis. They contacted them on my behalf, and we were able to actually meet and have a tour of the factory. I was fascinated by the innovative technology and beauty of the glass produced.

What is the concept behind the Bonbori range?

In response to Brokis’ desire to design outdoor lighting fixtures and in order to make the best use of the beautiful glass produced by them, we considered a structure where the light in the glass glows dimly. This was inspired by the light from the Japanese ‘snow cave’; a ‘snow cave’ has two meanings: a light made of Japanese paper, and a hole where snow is piled up and dug out. Both are associated with gentle light.

What was the biggest challenge for this project?

As we were designing the fixtures to be used outdoors, I was most concerned about how to combine the beauty of the lamp with waterproofing, but I was able to solve this by working through different ideas with Brokis engineers.

Can you tell us more about the design process?

Like other Brokis creations, Bonbori is handblown in the brand’s Czech workshops and took about 18 months to develop from start to finish. The base, made of stainless steel, is available in matte metallic colours, thus bringing a resolutely modern touch to the luminaire. Thanks to a subtle set of openings, laser cut and paired with the lightly tinted opaline glass shade, Bonbori diffuses a peaceful light fit for soft summer evenings.

The design is based on both the symbolic use of one and the interspersing of multiple pieces. There is no front, back, left or right, so you can choose where to put it. We aimed to produce something that would be equally fitting for a residential garden or sit well in the grounds of a large facility such as a hotel.

Image: Martin Chum

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