Omer Arbel’s 28 Pendants
So unless you just awoke from a four month winter hibernation, you know that Health Care Reform is still stalled, that the surprising New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl, and that the 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver. But what you probably aren’t aware of is that the self same designer of the somewhat controversial “wavy” Olympic medal is also the author of a quite intriguing chandelier called 28 Pendants.
28 Pendants. Designed by Omer Arbel.
Vancouver’s own Omer Arbel runs his atelier/architectural firm from within the mostly transparent bounds of this aptly named “City of Glass.” And while you may or may not know that the moniker originates from the Douglas Coupland book of the same name–a characterization owed to the legions of glass condo towers that dominate the skyline–after seeing Arbel’s impressive work with blown glass, you’d be justified in thinking they named the town after same.
As with many auteur/architects, Arbel relishes the symbiosis between the large-scale concept and the individual object: “Our work embraces the object as the starting point for the design exercise… We are modern day alchemists, interested in investigating and distilling the intrinsic properties and qualities of materials, studying and inventing fabrication methods, and respecting strong emotion as a valid source of aesthetic experience.” All these metaphors of conjuration certainly seem apropos of 28 Pendants. The lightpiece, created by alternately injecting then extracting air from a glowing hot glass orb, has a spontaneous, amorphous quality that appears quite organic in nature, while also evincing the invisible hand (or in this case, lungs) of an unseen creator. The final product looks gestational to me–seven large, transparent orbs clustered in an hexagonal scheme each contain a trio of translucent “orbettes,” one of which contains a low voltage halogen/xenon or LED light. The whole assemblage is tethered from on high, thus promoting a natural clustering aspect which heightens the organic theme, though they can also be installed separately or “composed in an ambient manner” like Arbel’s earlier 14.0 series.
28 Pendants shows to great effect in the translucent/transparent scheme seen above, yet Arbel–in collaboration with manufacturer Bocci–is quick to point out that they’re equally enthusiastic about customized incarnations in living, breathing color: “28 is a design which lends itself to infinite compositions and gradations of colour.” Let’s hope they make good on the declaration and that we’ll see some vibrant, multi-hued, technicolor 28s in the near future.