Ontology in Motion

Ontology in Motion

The Ontologia collection, a collaboration by Jackson Schwartz of lighting company Hennepin Made and Prospect Refuge Studio founder Victoria Sass, aspires to no less than the contemplation of our very existence.

Ontologia floor lamp with pink transparent shades in front of colorful Swedish style chimney

Or at least that’s one way to put it. Another, is that these eclectic, blown glass fixtures are by their very nature imbued with a sense of uniqueness, individuality, “personality.”

Sconce with blown glass amber-colored bulbs

That’s where the concept of Ontology comes in, as designer Sass hopes to inspire some deep thought (or at least playful thought) about objects, about where they came from, what they represent, in what ways they may change or exhibit dynamic qualities, and how we sentient beings invite them into our lives.

Ontologia table lamp with glass in minty green

“If we viewed objects as a living form,” says Sass “what would they express and how would we treat them differently? Our whole perception of the world would totally change.” With Ontologia, Sass and Schwartz make a gesture toward embodying “things” with “life.” During the design process, each fixture is imbued with distinctive characteristics—from the color of the glass; to the length, color, and configuration of the cord; to the finish, and of course to the type of fixture: “Each one is different because the maker’s manipulating it,” says Schwartz, “the process itself becomes like a historical memory. Every one of these is heated and draped over a metal form that is the same size as the wood ball, so depending on how hot it is, how thick or thin the glass is—how the glassblower’s essentially feeling that day—it’s going to droop more or less and have a unique shape.”

Blown glass shade detail with bulb visible

Not to get too spooky, but what if the objects in our lives indeed held the capacity for observation, apprehension, interrogation? Would our treatment of them measure up? Would we likely be more selective in our consumption and our decoration? More discerning and less prone to accumulation? If the answer’s to be found in these diaphanous and fluid harbingers of illumination, I’d say it’s a resounding yes.

Jackson Schwartz and Victoria Sass posing with Ontologia chandelier in the background

Read more at Prospect Refuge.

Leave a Reply