Saturday, June 11, 2011
Who knew that a behind-the-scenes look at design could reveal a process as multifarious and complex as that of making a major film? And a Tim Burton film at that. The comparison holds in regard to Markus Johansson's Cirrata Lamp, especially when one sees the dozen or so miniaturized prototypes that culminated in this over-sized lightpiece that resembles a gigantic octopus.
The large lamp’s name refers to a suborder of octopi characterized by an internal skeleton and a set of two fins—unusual qualities in an octopus and ones which actually make it more vulnerable to predators. Perhaps Johannson chose the name for this reason, because Cirrata’s increased vulnerability prompts it to favor deep, dark spaces.
In such depths the creature can avoid predation, and one imagines Johannson’s imaginative vision of Cirrata profited from this biological fact. It seems likely as well, that the designer chose the hard—and heretofore less malleable—material of Corian for similar reasons, not the least of which is the intriguing way in which it absorbs and reflects light.
Using a high-heat forming process in which he molded Corian around wooden boxes, Johannson was able to stretch the material out into the luminously-long and many-appendaged parabola of Cirrata: “a body with many arms which sweeps along and lights up the depths.”