Live at Design Miami: Soma by Ayala Serfaty

Israeli designer Ayala Serfaty is working wonders with lighting, illuminating fantastic universes into being. Some time ago, Joseph Starr wrote about her Five Palms Suspension Lamp, which reminds me of organic radiographic art—an X-ray of bulbous heads of light dripping from long plant stalks. Now, she’s created a whole cosmos of lighting called Soma, a term meaning body in Greek and blindness in Hebrew.

Tamino. Designed by Ayala Serfaty.

Cristina Grajales presented a collection of Soma fixtures at Design Miami, all of which displayed “an ongoing discourse with nature.” The pieces cannot hide their natural inspiration, although it was interesting to hear the reaction to the pieces at Design Miami, where some found the lamps reminiscent of clouds while others thought they looked like rocks—personally, I could not escape their reference to brain coral and other underwater vegetation.


Webs. Designed by Ayala Serfaty.


Tamino. Designed by Ayala Serfaty.


The Rest. Designed by Ayala Serfaty.


Webs. Designed by Ayala Serfaty.

Soma lights are incredibly light, formed of narrow glass rods covered in a thin polymer that lends it a “cocoon like” skin. Using colorful and/or transparent rods gives each piece its own glow. Serfaty curves and manipulates the 2mm-wide glass filaments so that Soma “emanates poetic bodies of light which have the appearance of immaterial foggy landscapes.” Of the small table lamps, one titled Tamino caught my eye: named after the handsome prince from The Magic Flute who is lost in a faraway land, Tamino used dark red glass rods the color of Gorgonian sea fans. A large wall-mounted sconce called Webs proved rather arresting with its pinkish, cloudlike billows—rather like pyrocumulus. And The Rest, a tall bluish formation emanating opaline light, brought to life Serfaty’s own conception of the Soma collection: “the essence of nature in its most abstract form, standing for frozen memories existing beyond time and space.”

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