Their poetic character and great variety transform the fair-weather clouds Cloud, into an atmospheric light sculpture. Its durable high-tech material can be sculptured to make each light unique. Standard lengths range from 50cm to 7m – with other forms and sizes individually made.
Light has always been one of the central themes in the work of the American architect Frank O. Gehry, winner of the Pritzker prize and one of today’s most distinguished designers. From the late 1960s onwards, Gehry has consistently created innovative lighting concepts and designed light objects for his manifold construction projects. Apart from experiments with ‘Colorcore’, a material that inspired the ‘Fish’ and ‘Snake’ lamps that were produced in small editions in the mid-1980s, these were all special designs developed in the context of specific projects. The individually designed, expressive light sculptures made for the conference rooms in the Vitra Center in Birsfelden, Switzerland – which was completed in 1994 – are prime examples.
Co-operating closely with the BELUX company, Frank O. Gehry has, for the first time, designed a collection of lamps for serial production. The name alone – Cloud – evokes the poetic nature of these creations, which, according to their maker, should convey ‘the feeling of freedom and eccentricity’. The lamps are available in various sizes and models, such as suspension, standing, floor and table lamps. Each lamp has a voluminous yet delicate paper-like shade, in the centre of which is the invisible light source. With its irregular sculptural shape, marked by countless folds, crimps, bulges and dents, it suggests a fleecy Cloud and then again a large, soft snowball. Looked at more closely, the lampshade consists of several interlinked cup-like elements. Each lamp has an individual note in spite of all lamps having the same structure and the same predetermined shape. The idea is that the fold structure of the shade, which is shaped more or less by accident during production, can be changed by bulging it out or pressing it in. In doing so, Gehry makes users into co-designers who can repeatedly change the shape of the lamp if they so wish.
Gehry wants Cloud to be seen as a homage to Isamo Noguchi. Cloud has the same sculptural quality as Noguchi’s famous paper Akari lamps. Gehry also shares with Noguchi a continued interest in paper, a material he has worked with intensively in his furniture projects. It came as no surprise, therefore, that the first prototype of the new lamp was made of complexly deformed packing paper cups, stapled together. However, for lighting and safety reasons, an alternative material was needed to produce the lamp in series. After comprehensive tests, a multiply refined polyester material was developed, which feels and looks like strong fibrous paper. Flexible, tear-free, flame-resistant and aging resistant, this material is easy to clean and therefore ideal for Cloud.
For the production of Cloud, sheets of this new material are deep-drawn to form cups and then stiffened using a transparent polycarbonate ring. They are assembled with small plastic clips to hold them to create the rounded elements of the lampshade which can consist of any number of cups depending on the size required.
The Cloudfamily includes standard suspension lights in four sizes, which, for transportation can be pressed to a thickness of just 10 cm and then delivered to the customer where, with a few hand movements, they are easily unfolded to their final (original) shape. The body of the standing light consists of seven elements supported by a thin, elegant chromed-steel tube. The rectangular block base gives the light its stability with the floor and table lamps following the same principle but instead having five parts.
From autumn 2010, the Cloud range will also include Cloud-XL. With its sleek, ellipsoidal form, this elongated cloud is ideal for the dining room table or for rooms with low ceilings. It is held by two thin wires and powered at a central point.
Using the same elements, Mamacloud is an extremely voluminous light sculpture. Each light is unique by being individually shaped by hand. The standard lengths of 2 - 7 meters and modular support enable a wide range of shapes and sizes to be created. In cooperation with Belux, the customer can specify these beforehand. The cloud symbolizes airiness, comfort and atmosphere. The voluminous and energy-saving Mamacloud is especially suitable for rooms with high ceilings and has sound-absorbing properties. It looks especially attractive in conference rooms, hotel entrances or lobbies, bars and lounges. Its excellent glare-free and constant illumination also make Mamacloud ideal for workspaces.
The whole Cloud/Mamacloud family of lights is powered by energy-efficient and compact fluorescent lamps and is available in On/Off and dimmable versions.