When I first saw Constantin Wortmann’s pendant/floor lamp-come-art installation called Spacewalker, I read it as an odd space-birth/gestational allegory, which, of course, put me in mind of Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001. Aficionados will remember the scene in which the hapless, space-suited Frank Poole—connected to the life-sustaining mother ship only via his notably red oxygen cord—is speedily dispatched by the affect-less HAL 9000 Computer, who performs the murderous act simply by snipping the tether.
Spacewalker. Designed by Constantin Wortmann for Dark.
There’s much to make of this umbilical imagery, and Spacewalker makes much of it indeed. In the mere confines of the 32 by 55 inch decorative lamp, Wortmann combines the ominous import of space exploration and the dark whimsy of “a friendly creature exploring new territory to put a smile on your face.”
I’m not sure I buy the “friendly” bit, because, in addition to evoking classic b-movie “space walk” imagery and the space-gestation business mentioned above, Spacewalker also reminds me of the diabolical big-headed Martians from Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! Neither does manufacturer Dark seem on board with the friendly interpretation (with a name like “Dark,” one needn’t be surprised). The Belgian manufacturer styles itself as “young and angry… a cauldron of creative ideas, producing highly original luminaires, lamps, chandeliers, sculptures and lighting concepts to create the desired ambience. DARK products are no wallflowers; they are eye-catchers that will bring a whole new dimension to any room.”
Consensus accedes in regards to the latter. In its brief 10 years of existence, the manufacturer has garnered no less than 39 design awards, including the coveted Reddot Award for Spacewalker in the category “Best of the Best.” Notwithstanding the very serious business of winning so many awards, the manufacturer does have some sense of play; the two Spacewalker incarnations embrace varying interpretations of non-terrestrial locomotion: “Hanging,” they say, “the Spacewalker appears to float weightlessly, almost as if it had just left its spacecraft in search of new discoveries. Floor-standing, it becomes more human in appearance.” Spacewalker—or “floater,” if you prefer is standard in a frosted finish, though colored filters enable it to blush or turn yellow or blue… “a very colorful individual.”