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  • 01.29.13

A Lamp Inspired By Ancient Japanese Dolls

Ionna Vautrin’s new fixture for Foscarini is a modern update on a classic form.

Anthropomorphism in design can be tricky to pull off–or, rather, pull off well. Too many people-like attributes and the object edges toward cutesy or gimmicky–too few and, well, then it’s just a thing (a beautiful thing, undoubtedly, but a thing nonetheless). For Doll, a new lighting collection for Italian illumination specialists Foscarini, French designer Ionna Vautrin began with a muse once-removed from an actual human form, taking cues instead from Japanese figurines called kokeshi.

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The artisan folk forms are traditionally hand-carved from wood into an incredibly simple shape combo of a tall trunk and slightly oversized sphere of a head, both of which are delicately painted to fill in the personal characteristics and individual style of each piece. Vautrin updated the materials and re-imagined the shape crossed with an oil lamp; the fixtures’ polycarbonate and ABS columnar bases are topped with a rounded, blown-glass shade. A quartet of rich hues–ivory, green, red, and gray–further obscures the connection, but these Dolls manage to maintain an engaging, approachable aesthetic in spite of the slick update, making a successful appeal to the heart as much as the eye.


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