It’s funny how the names of manufacturers and designers mysteriously lodge in the brain. When I heard that the new series of solid wood Beam Table Lamps had been created by Christian Vivanco, I knew I’d come across his ilk before. Sure enough, back in early 2009, I’d profiled his Baobab Loveseat, a colorful and spacious furnishing modeled after an exotic African tree. Beam is equally colorful, though its inspiration is not exotic but rather the domesticated energy of the urban landscape.
Beam Table Lamp. Designed and Manufactured by Christian Vivanco.
The Beam Table Lamp Synthesizes Solid Wood and Thermoformed MMA
Vivanco says Beam was provoked by his contact with various lumberyards in the city: “There I got the chance to realize how beautiful wood can be against an urban background, planks and beams stacked one above the other, some of them rough and others refined.” One imagines the leap of Vivanco’s imagination, as it morphed all those recti-linear shapes against the multi-faceted blocks of the city in order to conceive of Beam.
The construction of the lamp is as simple as a solid block of pine. In fact, it is a solid block of pine partially obscured and definitely enhanced by a transparent shade of methyl methacrylate (the basic building block of Lucite) in the proverbial rainbow of colors. The shade hides a simple bare bulb, a choice that enhances the piece’s pronounced texturality while reinforcing its elemental nature.
Vivanco says that Beam is an homage to the basic qualities of wood—its weight, its unmistakable texture, its impressive solidity: “I was intrigued by the possible relationship between a visibly heavy object and something as ephemeral and inert as light. How could it work? The interaction was resolved by itself, using the essential intermediaries—just a bulb and a screen, both fitting perfectly into a pre-defined grid. Nothing else.”
About the Designer: Christian Vivanco is a design/build consortium of precisely one, but that hasn’t kept him from collaborating with such firms as Hewlett-Packard, Santa & Cole, Cosmic, Ofita, LuzDifusion, Almerich, and Chocolat Factory. His background in industrial design gives him the chops for such high-profile commercial work, but one senses his true love is artistically-invested product design, inspired by the beauty of the everyday—“from our friends to the strangers we see on the subway.” Vivanco intends for each of his highly functional and aesthetically intriguing furnishings and lights to provoke a bit of mirth, a respite of joy: “We all share something in common: the ability to smile. All of us like to see a smile in everyone, everywhere. All of the designs you find here try to evoke just that, a smile.”