Materials – Vibia

May 8, 2024

This year’s winner of the decorative lighting product at the [d]arc awards was Vibia’s Array collection designed by Umut Yamac, who’s studio is characterised by a multidisciplinary approach that explores the middle ground between architecture and light.

Composed of an array of fine threads pulled taut between two aluminium rings, the collection presents a variety of elegant conical and cylindrical silhouettes that shimmer enticingly overhead, evoking a sense of refinement that can be enjoyed in any context.

Yamac speaks with darc about his design inspirations and concept for the award-winning collection.

“The idea for Array evolved over a number of years, and through various projects and prototypes. Originally, we were really interested in transforming a humble material – thread – and using repetition, tension, and space to trace spatial forms,” he explains.

“We were fascinated by the question of how little material do you need to define a volume? How can this form occupy a space without taking over it?

“The voids between the weave create a sense of transparency that means you can go quite large without feeling obtrusive. Instead, these volumes explore, reach out into the space, let the air pass through and become a liminal architectural element. With Array, we are suggesting a form without completing it, instead letting the viewer complete it in their mind’s eye.

“There were many technical challenges that related to working with thread in such a precise way. For me, the joy and beauty of the product comes from the precision of the thread and its tension and spacing, so this was a key area that required extensive research and development.

“As thread has not been used in this way before, we had to look to other industries for potential collaborators and solutions. Thanks to the commitment and work of the product development team at Vibia, the solution came from the fashion industry and a partner within the knitting industry.”

Expanding on his collaboration, Yamac adds: “The collaboration with Vibia was very natural, intuitive, and enjoyable. From the outset we had a shared vision for the potential of the collection and what could be possible working with thread in a spatial way.

“Vibia bring a wealth of experience in craft, product development and industrial processes. Also, a curious and a very collaborative approach. I think we also bring a playful curiosity and an artistic mindset with an architectural understanding.”

The Array collection incorporates various shapes and sizes, the largest of which extends to nearly two metres in height and 124 cm in diameter.

Array’s impressive scale by no means limits its use to public and commercial settings. The collection includes various smaller models suitable for residential use, the shortest of which stands at a modest 73 cm in height.

When it comes to mood, Array is as dynamic as it is intimate. The layering effect of the threads creates the illusion of movement with the shifting gaze of the viewer. In a restaurant setting, this effect is both subtle and spectacular. A series of identical cylindrical fixtures can be used to flood a long dining table with brilliant, dynamic light.

Alternatively, multiple pendants can be suspended low over individual tables, their lightweight form creating an air of romanticism that amplifies the space they inhabit.

In terms of palette, Array’s matte black rings are complemented by a choice of terracotta red, sober green, or soft beige threads.

These natural tones lend an earthy richness to a minimalist interior, particularly as they interact with the light as it washes up from below in a gradient of colour.