Who knew that a behind-the-scenes look at design could reveal a process as multifarious and complex as that of making a major film? And a Tim Burton film at that. The comparison holds in regard to Markus Johansson’s Cirrata Lamp, especially when one sees the dozen or so miniaturized prototypes that culminated in this over-sized lightpiece that resembles a gigantic octopus.
Cirrata Lamp. Designed by Markus Johannson
The Cirrata Octopus Lamp Stretches the Horizons for Corian
Said roster of miniatures looks to me like a group of casting rejects from Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, but one can definitely see how the accretion of increasingly-tentacled forms eventually resolved into Johannson’s definitive Cirrata, a luminous and ethereal form that looks like a ghostly wraith well at home amid the ocean's mystery.
The large lamp’s name refers to a suborder of octopi characterized by an internal skeleton and a set of two fins—unusual qualities in an octopus and ones which actually make it more vulnerable to predators. Perhaps Johannson chose the name for this reason, because Cirrata’s increased vulnerability prompts it to favor deep, dark spaces.
In such depths the creature can avoid predation, and one imagines Johannson’s imaginative vision of Cirrata profited from this biological fact. It seems likely as well, that the designer chose the hard—and heretofore less malleable—material of Corian for similar reasons, not the least of which is the intriguing way in which it absorbs and reflects light.
Using a high-heat forming process in which he molded Corian around wooden boxes, Johannson was able to stretch the material out into the luminously-long and many-appendaged parabola of Cirrata: “a body with many arms which sweeps along and lights up the depths.”
About the Designer: Markus Johannson’s credo may sound like something you’d read on the back of a shampoo bottle (“The only thing that matters to me is to develop, shape, and never repeat”), but the substance of the words is precisely the opposite of that banality. The Gothenburg-based designer is consumed by sustainable design, piqued by new forms, fascinated with the potential of innovative materials. A case in point is his Cirrata Lamp, which showcases some extraordinary manipulations of the countertop material Corian.