by Fred Abler
For functional beauty, it’s hard to beat lighting. The function is brilliantly clear, and the beauty.. well it’s hard to make something that glows ugly. Consequently there is a lot of good lighting, but truly brilliant lighting design is all the more hard to come by.
To find genius, you have to keep one eye on taste makers like the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). After being named Best New Designers in 2011, Rich Brilliant Willing (RBW) returned this year to best themselves .. and succeeded.
Fig 1. The Excel Floor Lamp. RBW’s breakout lighting design in 2009.
Rich Brilliant Willing is a playful ana-brand of the founders names; Theo Richardson, Charles Brill, and Alexander Williams – three RISD graduates who now practice in New York City. RBW was founded on the initial success of their Excell Floor Lamp.
The Excel’s playful chop-socky of wooden rods and skewered ‘snare drum’ lamp gave us a unique.. Eames meets Noguchi for a SOHO hardware-store beat-down vibe. The lamp is also highly adjustable and interactive, like it’s namesake spreadsheet.
This year, RBW bested themselves with the exquisitely refined Delta V Pendant Series.
Fig 2 – Delta Pendant VII Pendant Lighting at ICFF 2012, by RBW. Image courtesy of Rich Brilliant Willing.
Alexander Williams tells me the Delta shades started to take on the appearance of rocket engines ” So we named them for ‘delta-v’ a termed used in astrodynamics which is a measure of the amount of “effort” that is needed to change from one trajectory to another by making an orbital maneuver“.
Another delightful RBW reveal this year was their Trig Floor Lamp. The Trig is a riff on traditional ‘Tripod’ floor lamps, that borrows from Marcel Duchamp’s readymade sculpture (Bicycle Wheel) circa 1913, to arrive at something completely fresh.
Fig 3. (Left) Marcel DuChamps’s sculpture ‘Bicycle Wheel’ (1913).. and (Right) the ‘Trig’ Floor Lamp by Rich Brilliant Willing (2012). Image courtesy of RBW.
With ‘Bicycle Wheel’, Duchamp made a sly statement about seating. Humans need a flat and static place to sit, which he violates vertically with a patently unstable bicycle wheel. Thus, the ‘stool’ has been rendered non-nonsensical by this forced association.
Using similar semantics, the Trig lamp’s slender anthropomorphic charm reminds one of a useful alien – an adjustable luminance at the ready. Yet it also has an Edward Hopper loneliness. A personal streetlamp… casting an inviting pool of light in the reader’s study.
Interior Designers, Architects, and anyone interested in furniture and lighting as art, should go directly to Rich Brilliant Willing’s winning website. It’s delightful in every way, especially when you leave for a few minutes…. come back, and find this easter egg (below).
RBW’s Delta Pendant lights are now available on FormFonts 3D Models in SketchUp and other 3D formats. They were modeled by our 3D artist extraordinaire Gabriel Concha. So easy to download, and make your designs a bit more… Rich Brilliant and Willing.
If you want other examples of RBW’s fine lighting design, feel free to make a request!
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