Floating Lightly, Artemide Showroom

Floating Lightly, Artemide Showroom

Designer
Austin + Mergold
Location
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Project Year
2009
Category
Showrooms

Floating Lightly, Artemide Showroom by Austin + Mergold with James Bowman

Austin + Mergold as Designers

Winning proposal for ArtemideLighting Company storefront installation

Artemide is well known for its exceptional luminaires, and it is the consideration of “lightness” beyond mere candle output what makes them great. We propose to showcase this intimate relationship with light shared by all Artemide fixtures by showing … none of them. Instead we will offer the possibility of witnessing lightness beyond mere “illumination”. Weight, air, passage of time, quality of changing light – all of these considerations will come into play here.

 

The storefront was filled with a multitude of white helium balloons. They were lit from below by a simple linear fluorescent light source and baffled to prevent being seen form the outside. The balloons floated to the top and were lighted from below creating a virtual chandelier in each store window. As helium slowly seeped out of the balloons they began to descend toward the light source, at times becoming secondary point sources of reflected lights, at times coming together as smaller fixtures – and subsequently creating infinite variations of light. This process take several weeks and in the end (most of) the balloons settled on the light fixtures creating a continuous diffuser for the light that the fixtures emit.

 

This installation was essentially a full-scale model of itself, where different degrees of balloon inflation, rates of descent, etc. had to be figured out over several days until the final installation was unveiled.

Project team
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