Konstantin Grcic

January 23, 2020

Winner of this year’s Best Decorative Lighting Fixture at the [d]arc awards – the Noctambule collection from Flos comes to glamorous life at night.

Winner of Best Decorative Lighting Product in the 2019 [d]arc awards, Noctambule – meaning the night owl or reveller – appears mostly invisible during the day but comes to life during the night.

The new collection of lamps from Italian lighting giant Flos has been designed by Konstantin Grcic and is made of see-through blown glass modules, which in turn make the fixtures almost inexistent during the day. But, when you switch them on as it becomes dark, they transform into stunning, illuminated lamps.

The cylindrical glass modules set the basic grammar of the collection; the single module acting as a lantern. When several modules are stacked on top of each other they work together to create a light column, or suspended chandelier inside a stairwell.

Extra elements such a glass dome or cone-shaped head allow for added performance such as a floor-standing uplighter and pendant. From a technological perspective, the carefully calibrated LED technology that powers the lamps is discretely integrated into the junctions between the glass modules; almost absent, but ready to be activated at any time.

Born in 1965, Konstantin Grcic began his career in design training as a cabinet maker at The John Makepeace School for Craftsmen in Wood, before studying Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Having initially set up his own studio in Munich, Germany in 1991, today Grcic Design is based in Berlin, with the office active in several fields ranging from industrial design projects, exhibition design and architectural collaborations. Alongside Flos, some of Grcic’s renowned clients include: Aeance, Authentics, Cassina, ClassiCon, Flötotto, Galerie Kreo, Kettal, Laufen, Magis, Muji, Nespresso, Plank, Smart and Vitra.

The recipient of numerous awards such as the Compasso d`Oro for his MAYDAY lamp (Flos, 2001), the MYTO chair (Plank, 2011) and the OK lamp (Flos 2016), Grcic’s work also forms part of the permanent collections of the world´s most important design museums (a.o. MoMA/New York, Centre Georges Pompidou/Paris).

Grcic defines function in human terms, combining formal strictness with considerable mental acuity and humour. His work is characterised by careful research into the history of art, design and architecture and his passion for technology and materials.

Having collaborated with Flos for the past 20 years, Grcic talks darc through the Noctambule project: “At the very beginning we had the idea for a chandelier that would make use of LED technology, producing a more modern, contemporary form of chandelier. The classic chandelier, made of crystal glass, uses very little light, but instead light potentiates through the reflections of the many glass pieces.

“In our design for Noctambule, the pieces of glass have now translated into larger cylinders that are completed at the top and bottom with an LED ring – so each has its own light source. The glass reflects the light creating the illusion that it is shining by itself.”

For Grcic, the modularity of the lamp provided some challenges during the design phase – requiring great precision. “The mouthblown glass bodies are in a certain contradiction to this,” he continues. “The challenge was to overcome precisely this conflict; together with the technical team at Flos we worked closely with a glass manufacturer. The highlight lies in the combination of the individual modules; we succeeded in making it possible to plug the individual parts together like Lego bricks, with connections that conduct the current.”

Due to its modular nature, Noctambule can be used in almost any setting. One can combine the glass modules in a variety of configurations.

“Noctambule is a functional lamp and sculpture at the same time. It can perfectly illuminate a space while having an impressive physical presence,” adds Grcic.

Commenting on the [d]arc awards win, Ulysse Dormoy, Managing Director of Atrium, exclusive distributor of Flos in the UK, commented: “We’re all thrilled that Noctambule has won this prestigious award. Noctambule is a truly unique and exciting collection of lamps made of handblown glass modules punctuated by circles of light. Suspended or floor standing in an almost unlimited variety of configurations, the simplicity and transparency of Noctambule presents the design as a powerful glass sculpture in daylight, but when switched on at night, it comes alive like some nocturnal creature – as the name might suggest.

These stunning cylindrical glass forms transform into the most wonderful illuminated lanterns, chandeliers or epic light columns. A glass dome and cone-shaped head create a final elegant flourish for pendant or uplighter, while the carefully calibrated LED technology that powers the lamps is discreetly integrated into the junctions between the modules, forming glowing rings in each structure. With Noctambule, Flos demonstrates, yet again, that by combining the creative vision of leading designers with its own technical leadership ensures the company remains at the very forefront of lighting innovation.”


Image credit - Santi Caleca