Beware of Diesel and Foscarini’s Latest Pett

Very few manufacturers can navigate the divide between pop-culture kitsch and good design. The risk, it seems, in attempting products that have a certain whimsical/sentimental appeal is to crossover into outright gimmickry, thus forgetting that good design should be functional above all. The latest desk lamp by Diesel/Foscarini charts this tricky territory with aplomb-Pett has broad appeal. It's a CFL-powered, high efficiency task lamp with a memorable aesthetic. Its look lies somewhere between the dark Gothicism of Tim Burton's Batman and the enduring allure of classic b-movies like Them and The Deadly Mantis.

Pett. Designed by Diesel in collaboration with Foscarini.

The Contemporary Task Light for Successful Living

Of course, Pett's appearance is more in keeping with our millennial technology. The piece is constructed of polycarbonate and metal with an exterior coating of black rubber. This last feature merits comparison to the exoskeletons of favored insects and arachnids like grasshoppers and spiders, as it imparts to Pett the same other-worldliness and odd, mechanized feel. The lamp has a terrific sense of implied motion: the subtle, angular bends at each articulation suggest a coiled kinetic energy, as if the thing could spring forth at any moment and attach itself to the nearest wall (and hopefully not your face).

Beware of Diesel and Foscarini's Latest Pett

Beware of Diesel and Foscarini's Latest Pett

Beware of Diesel and Foscarini's Latest Pett

In regards to Pett's diffuser, Diesel compares it to "the wings of a bat, the roof of a Gothic building or the atmosphere of a dark-natured comic book." That description just about pins it down. The shade looks lifelike enough to suggest the veiny, translucent surface of living membrane, yet "artificial" enough to remind us that it is, in fact, a manufactured creature. The color palette of bianco, nero, azurro, and fucsia reinforces this last quality. All in all, Pett is an "irresistible amusing cult object for new generations... an original expression of contemporary pop culture, accessible to all, to be exploited in total freedom."

Posted October 25, 2010 by Joseph Starr

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