Let there be light

Night and day – the two are said to be categorical opposites, separating light and dark, or more suggestively, life and death and good and evil. But any artist or designer knows that once darkness falls, nothing is as simple as that.

Untitled by Pettersen and Hein: “If you sit on it, it’s a chair. If you walk around it and look at it, it is a sculpture.” So said American artist Richard Artschwager, and this dictum has influenced the work of couple-turned-collaborators Magnus Pettersen and Lia Hein. Does it always have to be a matter of art versus design? Are they truly at odds with one another? As an answer to these fundamental questions, Norwegian-Danish duo Pettersen and Hein take a complete one-eighty from the idea that form must follow function, instead seeking to blur the division between design and art with an exploratory mission to play with textures, materials, patinas, and industrial-modern aesthetics.

The Cone Lights by Studio Vit: Decades of immaculate construction have conditioned us to expect harmony in Scandinavian design, taking for granted the skill it takes to create functional objects where materials and form coalesce to evince a cool, relaxed mood. Strangely, this harmony is sometimes the result of a clash or an opposition. Just as complementary colours – those opposite one another on a colour wheel – can create a satisfying congruity, so can the pairing of opposite shapes. Consider The Cone Lights from Swedish design duo Studio Vit, with their sharp, angular cone placed atop – or beneath – a smooth hand-blown glass orb, which together can be posed like a still-life from drawing class or hung neatly, pendant style. The Cone Lights represent an exploration of elementary forms that appeals to the desire to reconcile dissimilarities, to celebrate geometry, and to rearrange our spaces even on a micro-level.

Continue reading in Oak volume Four