With the advent of LED lamps suitable for outdoor lighting, ewo, the Bolzano-based, international manufacturer of high quality lighting systems asked Plasma Studio to develop a new type of street light for this radically new technology.
Starting from the conceptual diagram of the streetlamp as the combination of a vertical shaft and horizontal light-emitting beam, and looking at birds and flowers for reference, Plasma developed Tagliente as a fluid transition between the vertical and horizontal directions. Challenging the omnipresent and generic status of street lamps, this angular multi-faceted sculpture appears different from every angle and invites the casual passer-by to wander around it in order to grasp its form.
By remaining ambiguously between industrial and natural form, we observed that the object’s relationship to the context has been surprisingly versatile (as can be seen on the photos attached). The light was first exhibited at Plasma Studio’s Nodal Landscapes exhibition at the DAZ Berlin where it formed a dynamic extension to the orthogonal grids of a typical Berlin “Hinterhof”.
The object is now displayed in front of ewo’s headquarter building, a contemporary context that enables it to articulate the link between the natural rocky backdrop and the man-made, orthogonal structures.
After an extensive period of digital design, the breakthrough came at a hands-on workshop at ewo’s fabrication facilities in Bolzano. Master blacksmith Andreas had already completed a 1:1 prototype in steel. It was revealing to see it at its true height: 6m in the air. This set in motion a rigorous, yet instant, oscillation of alteration and assessment. It came to light that in this case beauty stems from the collision between visual feedback and material/geometric constraints.
While the potential of open-ended and cyclical design processes have certainly opened up new avenues for contemporary solutions, the endless options that can be generated are not always an adequate replacement for an old-fashioned, hands-on, one-directional process.