Seen for the first time at the recent Maison & Objet trade show in Paris, the forthcoming lighting collection by Ango is a sophisticated balance of modern forms with the distinct natural vibe that comes from a masterful use of silk cocoons.
The organic appeal of the cocoons—bright white when the lamps are off and a soft, warm diffusion of light when on—form the basis of Ango's new collection. Produced with composite materials and innovative assembling techniques, the material (one he's worked with to great success before) seems to provide an endless source of inspiration for lighting designs.
For the gourd-shaped Drop lights, the silk cocoon is cast into polymer, while in Evolution the cocoons are invisibly bound together using a special technique to form the amorphous oval cloud. Even when exploring new materials, Ango maintains its organic aesthetic.
The White Dreams pendant is spun from bunches of semi-transparent, paper-like petals, in fact made entirely from seaweed. Read the below interview with chief designer and Ango founder Angus Hutcheson about how he developed this new material for Ango's repertoire (which includes rattan, Mulberry tree bark, tapioca and hand-spun silicone), and to learn more his mixing of nature and technology.
Can you tell us about the materials and inspiration behind the new collection?
The inspiration for the White Dream pieces came very much from the material itself, which has an incredible translucence, something like frozen water. It is actually completely composed of seaweed, which is cast as a polymer in flat sheets, in a process that took us three years to develop.
Similarly, the Evolution pieces were quite influenced by the material, where open-ended silk cocoons are fixed onto a thin, water-based-polymer base to make a rigid structure, where each element acts as a light funnel, conducting light from the base structure to the outside.
The Drop piece is a continuation of the Earth Cloud floor light that was launched in September 2010, for which a water-based polymer is reinforced with elements of silk cocoon in a hand-casting process that we've developed. The forms for both Drop and Earth Cloud are quite organic, and mysterious.
What would you consider as your signature? What makes your products different?
Our designs are nearly all lighting and describe a kind of allegory about nature and technology—a vision of an electric Arcadia created with light. Then there's always a focus on innovation with new materials and processes, using these to create new light fantasies, which are characteristically Ango.
As a designer, where do you find your inspiration, in nature or cultural references?
Certainly observing patterns of nature is a strong ongoing influence, but I get equally inspired by observing the visual chaos of cities, especially those in Asia, with their crazy nighttime streetscapes, anarchic lighting, billboards and electrical cabling.