An exciting new collection of sculptural light objects is being presented by London-based Child Studio during Milan Design Week 2017. Titled “In the Shadow of a Man”, the collection includes one wall-mounted and four free-standing lights that playfully experiment with architectural forms and the viewer’s perception of space and volume. The collection’s title itself is inspired by a phrase by Greek-Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico, whose surreal paintings often depict architectural compositions and a strong interplay of light and shadow. As de Chirico describes himself, a shadow is a complete world in its own, full of metaphysical potency and meaning: “There is much more mystery in the shadow of a man walking on a sunny day, than in all religions in the world.”
Child Studio’s new collection evidently draws from de Chirico’s work, but also from the architectural landscapes of Aldo Rossi and the brilliant minimalism of theatre director Bob Wilson. For each design in the collection, Child Studio’s designers Chieh Huang and Alexey Kostikov use a single illuminated sphere placed on a wooden ash wood base. What makes these designs so unique is that they seem to balance the sphere at impossible positions, as if rolling inside a bowl or standing on inclined surfaces; the designers’ intention was to capture these spheres “at a point of subtle balance, as if frozen in time”.
Olive ash wood was chosen because of the bold, irregular patterns it contains, which reminded the designers of marble veins or randomised digital patterns. These organic shapes within the wood were then given a glossy finish to accentuate the material’s similarity to stone but also to make each base appear monolithic and sculptural. Bold colours were also used for some of the designs in order to make their form stand out, and create an interesting interplay between the wood’s inherent texture and carefully polished surface.
The collection was presented at a rather unusual venue during Milan Design Week, namely the historic, family-owned flower shop of Ditta Angelo Radaelli in Brera. Flanked by high-end Via Montenapoleone boutiques, the shop caught Huang and Kostikov’s eye for its impressive window and charming interior that seems unaffected by passing trends. Child Studio’s collection was presented amongst the flowers and plants inside the flower shop, as a way to further enhance the light objects’ surreal and mystifying beauty.
In the Shadow of a Man collection of sculptural lighting objects by London-based Child Studio (Alexey Kostikov and Chieh Huang). Video © Child Studio.