While cruising the floor of the ICFF today, I couldn't resist dropping in to have a chat with Dwell's old neighbor and all around good guy, San Francisco–based designer Peter Stathis. In recent years Stathis has netted acclaim for his novel lighting designs, such as Link, for manufacturer Pablo. This year he's branched out on his own (somewhat literally) with a new design called Ikebana.
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Having seen a preview of the fixture before flying out to New York, I was initially skeptical of the highly decorative design, but within a few minutes of speaking with Stathis, and playing with the posable fixture, I was won over. "I wanted to come to the fair with the most advanced technology and the most decorative form," Stathis claimed.
With a proprietary flat panel LED that uses a laser texturing process and special films to achieve a more balanced glow, and an abstract petal form that recalls Maija Isola, he would seem to have accomplished exactly that. "I liked the idea of using a plant as decor," said the designer, "and of cultivating an artificial nature. I want people to play with the lights just as they might a flower arrangement. It's a more free idea of how we can live and interact with our interiors." In Stathises' view that freedom evolves out of developing technology—it took a year and a half to perfect the 7.5-watt LED panel. Once the components were set, he figured he could push the design to the outer reaches. "I'm really surprised, but everyone here today is loving the dimmer switch," he reported of the quirky leaf-like form.
While the flower takes center stage, Stathises' skill as a veteran designer is more evident in the fixture's delicate looped connection and clever notch that holds the cord in place. He designed these elements to recess into the background, but their soft feel and thoughtful functionality are what allow the decorative form of the flower truly shine.