While floor lamps and overhead lights are mostly stationary affairs, it’s not uncommon to find desk lamps that can be repositioned as needed. The classic drafting light, with its articulating arm and expressive face, is a perfect example. Fluida, a desk lamp by the Italian-based outfit Studio Natural, gives that concept of directed, task-based light an entirely new form.
Designed for the Italian company Martinelli Luce, Fluida comprises an LED-encrusted ribbon anchored by two magnetic blocks. Ostensibly, there are two ways to configure the apparatus, either with the magnetic pendants separated and the ribbon arcing between them like a rainbow, or, second, with the magnets snapped together and the ribbon billowing out above, like a hot air balloon. But it’s not quite as simple as that.
The magnetic bases, shaped like blocks, can be snapped together on any surface. Some of those combinations give the ribbon a gentle twist, directing the light emitted in one general direction or another. It may not offer the spotlight precision of the drafting lamp, but it’s enough flexibility to let you bounce the light off a wall, say, instead of beaming it directly down on the book you’re reading.
Marco De Santi, half of Studio Natural, says that he and his design partner Alessandro Paoletti never start the design process with sketching but rather by examining the environment in which the product will exist and the behaviors that surround it. With Fluida, which not only lets the user redirect the light shone but invites them to physically reposition the entire product itself, they hoped to create more a direct relationship between user, space, and task. Plus, De Santi says, touching things makes us like them more. "Flexible products with a high coefficient of interaction allow us to establish an emotional attachment to the product," he says, "one that goes beyond the value of the object itself."
Previously, in collaboration with a studio called 4P1B, De Santi and Paoletti helped design a sculptural light called Toy, also produced by Martinelli Luce. Fluida, which recently won first prize at the 2013 Young & Design competition, will be made available by the company in coming months.