Upon first glance, Katja Pettersson’s Sphere looks like a sleek update on a traditional crystal ball for the ultra-modern gypsy--something you’d stare at from the comfort of a Barcelona chair as it offers glimpses into a future filled with good luck and high style. This sculptural fixture, however, is no fortune teller. Instead, the Swedish designer’s prototype, presented as part of Folkform’s recent exhibition at Gallery Kleerup, offers a closer look at the phenomena of illumination itself, as seen refracted through a perfect circle.
The completely solid orb sits atop a simple columnar base made of cloudy white plastic, which houses an LED; when switched on, the beam is concentrated as it shines out the other side. “It is fantastic that a weak light source gets amplified by the glass,” Pettersson tells Co.Design. “I was surprised by the amount of light it produced.”
Though Sphere’s shape is slick and the technology current, the concept is ages old and owes an obvious hat-tip to science. Centuries ago, people took advantage of the same kind of mechanics using a round bowl of water to focus a candle’s brightness after the sun went down (here’s a fun little explanation and DIY), while the convex shape of magnifying lenses have been used forever to direct rays that will start fires. Fortunately, the cool glow from this globe isn’t strong enough to set decor alight.