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Fragile Future Chandelier

LEDs and dandelions star in a stunning chandelier vision of our environmental fate

by Leonora Oppenheim in Design on 13 October 2010

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Among stunning 20th-century artworks from European galleries, there's always a contemporary design gem or two to be found at London's Art + Design Pavilion. In 2008 we came across rAndom International’s Temporary Printing Machine at The Carpenters Workshop, which this year features a giant landscape version of the machine producing temporary scanned images of the whole room. Trumping that spectacle 2010's show-stopping LED chandelier by Dutch designers Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, also showing at The Carpenters Workshop.

Awarded the Moet Hennessy Prize 2010 for best in show at the fair, the designers describe their work as "the story about the amalgamation of nature and technology. In the distant future these two extremes have made a pact to survive. Fragile Future III combines an electrical system with real dandelions in a light sculpture that is predestined to overgrow a surface."

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The contrast between the heavy concrete block among the incredibly fragile dandelion heads creates a particularly visually striking ambiance. The discordant image suggests the imminent damage and destruction of these delicate forms, as well as a rather beautiful visual analogy of environmental destruction.

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The tiny LED lights placed at the center of the delicate dandelion heads look nothing short of magical. Seemingly a sort of visual trick, the mind boggles imagining the intricacies involved in making the genuine structure.

Now in its third iteration (I saw an earlier edition at the excellent "In Praise of Shadows" exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum during the London Design Festival last year), it's exciting to see these innovative designers developing the Fragile Futures design, with the latest version introducing newly-developed modules for 3D constructions.

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