This week we’re trying something new. We’ve noticed that our past focus has been slanted towards various furniture items (seating, tables, storage), and plumbing fixtures and ceramics of all kinds, but have we really done our job with lighting? Our friends at Freshome recently published a compilation, 40 of The Most Creative Lamp Designs Ever. It sparked some interesting conversation over yonder, so we’re trying something similar here. This week 3rings will focus exclusively on lighting… and here we go.
Torn Lighting. Designed by Billy May.
Searching for economical lighting solutions? If you live on planet U.S.A. (or planet Europe, for that matter), and you’re not among those famed $250,000+ wage earners, you’ll concede that economical solutions are fast becoming the only solutions. To all of you I say it may be your lucky day, since New York Designer Billy May has an affordable yet innovative lighting scheme to sell you. Brought to our attention via our friends at Freshome, and intriguingly dubbed “Torn Lighting,” the product presents a conceptual re-definition of sorts, since the fixtures “muddle the barrier between the room and its contents,” with the resulting illusion that the light “comes from the room itself.” The idea is deceptively simple: introduce elements that contain LEDs yet camouflage with wallboard (they can be painted or textured to match), thus creating the effect of a “rippled” or “torn” portion of wall that emits light from an unseen source.
May’s collection includes fixtures with three different profiles: “Hangnail” adheres to outside corners, creating the illusion that the wall is peeling back on itself and resembling a sort of primitive sconce; “Dog Ear” attaches to straight runs and looks like it sounds—a turned-back page of paper; and “Crevice” fits to inside corners, establishing an unsettling rippling effect, the portion of wall in question thus seeming to harbor some pulsating life-form of innate phosphorescence.
Torn Lighting is purposefully random: no matter where you install the fixture, it creates the appearance of a haphazard illumination, but that’s precisely the point, as May says, “muddling” the traditional notion that light must come from a visible fixture or lamp. The concept establishes a sort of systemic mood lighting, in which the randomness of illumined objects or spaces interacts with the suggestiveness of the “hidden” source. For me, it creates a great interplay between light and shadow, in the literal and figurative sense. No wonder Torn Lighting’s prominent publicity photo features an image of Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now: if you hadn’t previously thought of this character as a Western icon of these dueling sensibilities, there’s no denying it now—the juxtaposition with Torn Lighting leaves it written all over Kurtz’s face.