Zhili Liu’s “Sparrow,” “Nightengale,” and “Doves” Bird Lighting

We seem to have stumbled onto a theme this week, as regards our lighting products at least. First, Sarah Ivanyi’s use of elemental forms (the straight line) to create the bulbous wonders of her Arcal, Fractal, and Cumulus lamps gave Joseph the opportunity to talk about primary forms in contemporary art. Now Zhili Liu’s Bird Lighting has granted me space to philosophize as well.

Nightingale. Designed by Zhili Liu.

Though there are similarities between the two products, Zhili‘s work is of a slightly different ilk. Whereas Ivanyi employs a basic unit of geometry in such great numbers that she creates a sort of illusion of sprawling architecture, Zhili’s work enlists the spectator’s inherent capacity for self-delusion. In actuality, Bird couldn’t be simpler. The artful assortment of standard, unadorned bulbs (the concept works with incandescents, CFLs, or LEDs) are situated in commonplace “Bone China” sockets at various jaunty angles—such to simulate the distinctive profile of a perched bird. Zhili characterizes his primary material as “a cheap bakelite socket that has been widely used in China, from workshops to living rooms, for over 4 decades.” He also says that “with a bulb and some wire, it makes a practical and reliable pendant lamp.” It also makes a markedly inexpensive pendant, track, or table-top lamp. And it happens to be translucent and heat proof , so it’s safe for electrical applications. All these qualities inspired Zhili to envision a row of the slightly angled sockets peppered across the surface of a makeshift branch (“Sparrow”); housed within an airy glass sheath (“Nightingale”); and suspended from cords of varying length and clustered in a bunch (“Doves”).


Doves. Designed by Zhili Liu.


Sparrow. Designed by Zhili Lui.


Sparrow. Designed by Zhili Lui.

The pieces have a spare quality that’s at once very Old World Chinese and quite contemporary. The snow white shade of the sockets and bulbs helps to facilitate the illusion that the lights are actually birds, as it provides Zhili the proverbial blank canvas to let you see what you desire to see. In the case of this clever collection of minimalist art/design, that translates to a fortuitous assemblage of our feathered friends, who just happen to project the perfect amount of frosty incandescence.

Via Dezeen

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