What is it about designer Richard Hutten’s new pendant lamp that merits the name of “Thunderball?” What exactly would a ball of this potent weather phenomena look like? What destructive powers might it contain? I prefer to think of the notion as the deity’s bowling ball, rolled down the alleys of the cosmos at whim to create the shattering impact of a thunderbolt. Hutten’s intriguing pendant lamp may not strike with such literal force, though it does pack quite a metaphorical wallop. In fact, the piece calls on the arcane symbolism and structural moxie of the hexagon (see Zeitlberger for Marburg and Rassadin’s Beehouse Lamp for other incarnations of this six-sided wonderment) for its basic component—the lamp is constructed of interlocking metal hexagons… “connecting each shape are small hinges that allow the user to form and fold the object in endless ways.”
Thunderball Pendant Lamp. Designed by Richard Hutten for NgispeN.
The Immutable Hexagon Facilitates Limitless Variety
Hutten’s Thunderball is thus much like a deconstructed honeycomb. In its “intact” form it resembles an intricate and somewhat oblong spheroid—a probable contender for the preferred shape of said implement by the hypothetical deity mentioned above—but its ultimate form is left to the aesthetic whims of that other habitual hypothetical deity, the user. Hutten and manufacturer NgispeN suggest that Thunderball morphs according to his/her desires, and the product photos bear this out: each of the user manipulations of the piece reveals a motif of opening and emptying. The look is unusual and unusually intriguing, suggesting not only the deconstructed hives of bees (the honey pouring out just like Hutten’s sweet light), but also a fractured meteorite, the egress apparatus of an extraterrestrial transport, or even the inside of Superman’s lair.
That a single piece can spawn such variety of aesthetic interpretation testifies to its allure, and the sweet, sweet center at the heart of Thunderball’s interior only magnifies (so to speak) the attraction. Like the proverbial ball of delicious goo at the center of a Tootsie Pop, or the luminescent heart that beats within all well-meaning aliens, Hutten’s Thunderball flowers open to reveal the source of all its power—there, a single glassy filament reflecting back its own singular (de)construction.