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In Stunning New Show, Formafantasma Paints With Light

The Amsterdam-based design duo created 18 experimental light sculptures that bend and refract light to mesmerizing effect.

  • <p><em>Anno Tropico, Room 3</em>, 2016<br />
Installation view</p>
  • <p><em>Biconvex Lenses - Test 2</em>, detail of the lens, 2016 <br />
LED, iron, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil</p>
  • <p><em>Colour - Test 3</em>, detail of the colour effect, 2016 <br />
LED, dichroic glasses, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil</p>
  • <p><em>Colour - Test 7</em>, detail of the colour effect, 2016 <br />
LED, dichroic glasses, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil</p>
  • <p><em>Colour - Test 1</em>, detail, 2016 <br />
LED, dichroic glasses, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil</p>
  • <p><em>Magnifier</em>, 2016<br />
Delta collection <br />
LED, brass, crystal glass, electrical materials</p>
  • <p><em>Magnifier</em>, 2016<br />
Delta collection <br />
LED, brass, crystal glass, electrical materials</p>
  • <p><em>Parabolic mirror - Test 5, detail of the light projection</em>, 2016 <br />
Aluminium, glass, iPhone, crystal glass, travertine, fire-resistant bricks, pencil</p>
  • <p><em>Helmet</em>, 2016 <br />
Delta collection<br />
LED, brass, electrical materials</p>
  • <p><em>Helmet</em>, 2016 <br />
Delta collection<br />
LED, brass, electrical materials</p>
  • <p><em>Reflector table</em>, 2016 <br />
Delta collection <br />
LED, bronze, travertine, brass,</p>
  • 01 /11

    Anno Tropico, Room 3, 2016
    Installation view

  • 02 /11

    Biconvex Lenses - Test 2, detail of the lens, 2016
    LED, iron, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil

  • 03 /11

    Colour - Test 3, detail of the colour effect, 2016
    LED, dichroic glasses, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil

  • 04 /11

    Colour - Test 7, detail of the colour effect, 2016
    LED, dichroic glasses, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil

  • 05 /11

    Colour - Test 1, detail, 2016
    LED, dichroic glasses, concrete, polycarbonate lens, electrical materials, rubber, pencil

  • 06 /11

    Magnifier, 2016
    Delta collection
    LED, brass, crystal glass, electrical materials

  • 07 /11

    Magnifier, 2016
    Delta collection
    LED, brass, crystal glass, electrical materials

  • 08 /11

    Parabolic mirror - Test 5, detail of the light projection, 2016
    Aluminium, glass, iPhone, crystal glass, travertine, fire-resistant bricks, pencil

  • 09 /11

    Helmet, 2016
    Delta collection
    LED, brass, electrical materials

  • 10 /11

    Helmet, 2016
    Delta collection
    LED, brass, electrical materials

  • 11 /11

    Reflector table, 2016
    Delta collection
    LED, bronze, travertine, brass,

From a chair that symbolizes Italian history to handcrafted objects that test alternative materials to plastic, Formafantasma is known for occupying the fertile territory between art and design. For their latest endeavor, the Amsterdam-based designers spent a year experimenting with a new medium: light. The result is a series of lighting structures, now on view at Peep-Hole in Milan, which bend, reflect, and otherwise distort light to mesmerizing effect.

Colour - Test 3 and 7, 2016Formafantasma

Featuring 18 pieces, many of which were made specifically for the exhibition, Anno Tropico is as much about the light sculptures themselves as the way they transform the space around them. The installation Colour, for example, is composed of a series of test pieces formed of LED strips, dichroic glass, and polycarbonate lenses mounted on a concrete block. Using a white light source and colored glass, the piece manipulates light like a prism to create rainbow colored reflections on the wall. The hanging piece Magnifier, initially created for the designer's Delta show in Rome, is made of Romanian brass and crystal. On both ends of the piece, LED lights shine through the magnifying crystal, creating large circles of light on both the ceiling and the floor.

Anno Tropico, Room 3, 2016

All of the pieces in the show are more concerned with the aesthetics of light than the design of the lamps themselves; in fact, the designers describe light as a "material" in and of itself. But other materials undoubtedly come into play, such as weighty iron and brass pieces that balance out the ephemeral nature of light, as well as rubber and glass. The circular forms of many of the sculptures are significant: They're reminiscent of astronomical rings and orbital motions in space. As explained in a video that ends the show, the initial idea for these experimental objects arose from an interest in how light travels in space:

Anno Tropico is on view at the Peep-Hole gallery in Milan through March 19.

Slideshow Credits: 02 / Formafantasma; 03 / Formafantasma; 04 / Formafantasma; 05 / Formafantasma; 06 / Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Rome; 07 / Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Rome; 08 / Formafantasma; 09 / Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Rome; 10 / Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Rome; 11 / Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Roma;