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Umut Yamac’s Perch Light

The architect's perfectly balanced, origami-inspired paper light

by Cajsa Carlson in Design on 30 September 2014

Architecture, Birds, Lamps, Lighting, London Design Festival 2014, Origami, Umut Yamac

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Architect and designer Umut Yamac’s Perch Light is an intriguing, playful piece of design. The stylized bird-shaped light sits still on its perch until you pass it, or a draft sets it in motion: then the bird gracefully swings, dipping back and forth whilst staying illuminated. The interactive quality of the kinetic light is one of the things that makes it so appealing; but the design itself, all origami-inspired clean lines and sharp folds, is beautiful even when the bird is resting.

Yamac, whose previous work includes domestic objects as well as designs for public spaces, showed the lamp at London’s Design Junction, where it caught Cool Hunting’s attention. The birds, which take four to five days to produce and are handmade in London, will be made to order. We caught up with the London-based designer in his studio to talk about the inspiration behind Perch and his fascination with movement and balance.

How did you move from architecture to creating light pieces?

I was working on a project where everything was bespoke, the glazing, window frames…it was all handmade by a craftsperson, and I was designing bespoke locks for the doors, because you couldn’t use conventional locks. So it’s always coming back to these one-to-one details, and whilst I was studying I was also making quite a lot of kinetic work. UCL, where I was studying, is an art-based architecture school, so you’re quite free to explore what architecture is to you, and I explored it to movement and materials, storytelling. So, in a way, my work now is a continuation of that.

When did you begin the Perch Light project?

It must have started a year ago and, bit by bit, it’s been developing ever since. The project started in quite a crude way, with just the idea of balancing—there’s something exciting about things that balance, the potential for movement. The light has got layers to discover and there’s different ways to interact with it, and as an architect I find that interesting. I guess I’m interested in the imaginary, as well. Ultimately, I just try to make playful work.

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What were your thoughts behind the lamp’s design?

I realized that it’s not pleasant to see the light source, and was thinking about how you can control how you see the light. It’s not nice to see the lightbulb, either—it’s something else that somebody else has made. So I was considering how you can control every element of the light and started thinking of how to house the light in this, my take on origami. The process of making the lamp is very delicate. It is made from archival paper, LEDs and brass. I tested a few different papers and they’re so different when they have light coming through—the grains, the colors. I liked how the light came through in this paper.

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Is there a specific reason that you choose the bird shape?

The bird is quite a familiar shape, which I like—people can immediately recognize it, and then you combine it with something unexpected. In terms of interaction, I’m interested in the way that the birds interact with objects, because they do balance so if you walk past it, it responds with a slight movement. So there’s this idea that they respond to the space and have the potential to interact with it. I think that goes back to architecture—not just thinking about how to make the object itself, but about how it works within its surroundings.

Images by Tom Gildon, courtesy of Umut Yamac

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Cry Wolf by Lisa Solberg

The Los Angeles painter brings her first dramatic exploration of nature to the gallery walls in Munich

by Julie Wolfson in Culture on 30 September 2014

Los Angeles, Exhibitions, Munich, Lisa Solberg, Nature, Neon, Paintings

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LA-based Lisa Solberg paints with bold colorful strokes that convey elements of mystery that evoke an otherworldly spirituality. Her large-scale works reveal passion and intensity through layers upon layers of paint. After the success of her fishbowl-inspired "24HR PSYCHIC" gallery show of reflective canvases created with car paint, Solberg turned her attention to a more natural palette for "Cry Wolf" at Munich's Super+ Centercourt Gallery.

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When the gallery approached her about doing a show, Solberg found the idea to be an intriguing way to follow up on concepts explored at her own experimental gallery space. “I love to see the different subcultures forming here in Munich, since most of the attention seems to be on Berlin," she tells CH. For the exhibition, she worked in residency with other artists. “Working in nature here was so beautiful; the spot I found to paint actually ended up being a natural water source which is deemed as holy.”

Living in LA's downtown Arts District, Solberg doesn't often spend much time in quiet natural settings. That urban industrial environment has provided inspiration and driven her work for many years, but recently she longed a breath of fresh air. “I needed a quieter muse in order to access something beyond myself,” she explains.

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She named the show "Cry Wolf" to push herself to a place she never explored and test how far it would take her—the plan was to paint in the wild with the goal of creating pulsing pieces, which would aspire to their natural setting. “I've never gone to nature for inspiration, but instead always used nature as a balance for my erratic, excessively active and exhausting process,” she says.

In the end—due to weather and technical challenges—she was able to paint only one work in nature while the rest took shape back in her studio. “The title metamorphosed for me into something literally referring to the dramatic and extreme quality of not only my efforts, but of nature itself," she says. The pieces examine Solberg’s powerful experience of spending time in the woods, exploring both its beauty and its ferociousness.

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Solberg captured the process of creating the colorful mixed media works for "Cry Wolf" on a GoPro camera, chronicling everything from her immersion in nature to the installation and show opening. She also made a layered audio loop of the sound of the water that was around her while painting. “GoPro cameras have such a fantastic capability to hide themselves but always capture the shot,” she shares. The idea to film was sparked by a canoe trip she took in Canada before heading to Munich. During the journey Solberg asked a ranger if she would see a wolf. The ranger replied, "They will always see you, but you will never see them."

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Next Solberg is planning another 24HR PSYCHIC show before the end of the year, as well as a few installation projects: “I am keen on creating environments right now for people to lose themselves and access a sort of metaphysical realm. I'm not sure which show is coming next, but one of them involves pole dancers and one involves a mosh pit.”

"Cry Wolf" is be on view at Super+ Centercourt Gallery through 12 October 2014.

Images courtesy of Lisa Solberg and Bernhard Lend

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Samuelsohn Performance Weatherproof Suits

Rain-repellent fabrics get a classic cut in the brand's new line

by David Graver in Style on 29 September 2014

Menswear, Samuelsohn, Style, Suiting, Suits, Tailoring

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Any suit-wearing individual caught in an unexpected storm or using a not-so-effective umbrella understands the discomfort of wet dress attire. Wool absorbs moisture and makes it more manageable, but wet wool also certainly carries a scent when saturated—in addition to a textural change. Heritage brand Samuelsohn offers a solution. Their new F/W 2014 Performance line of suits incorporates Loro Piana's Rain System wool, which actually repels water (not to mention stains) and deters wind. This lightweight, flexible material protects both the suit and (in turn) its wearer against the elements.

The brand keeps their classic cuts and signature style, but the fabric change truly makes their new suit performance wear. There's an artistry to this formal attire, based upon hand-stitching and luxuriant, classy flourishes—reflective of their 90+ years of history. However, the additional increased functionality, by way of an intuitive interior pocket system and even form-recognizing fibers, sets it apart. Not to mention the fact that these suits are prepared for the weather to change—as it's want to do.

Browse Samuelsohn's rain-repellent suits online, or purchase them at select retailers, with prices starting at $1,195.

Images courtesy of RO NEW YORK

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