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6 April 2023
An articulated concept and a simple but incisive aesthetic for a lamp with a “magnetic” charm
It all begins with the sculptures and mobiles by Alexander Calder: balance of shapes and colours, play of counterweights and structural and visual balances, they are the starting point for the creative process that led the Foster+Partners studio to conceive the Ixa collection for Artemide. The Ixa family consists of floor, wall and table lamps and despite being a decisive manifesto of contemporary style, they retain the evocative poetry of Calder’s creations. As well as the chromatic taste, since the lamps have been imagined in anthracite, white/grey, blue and yellow, recurring colors also in the sculptures of the American artist.
From a functional point of view, there are many ideas but the most important is undoubtedly the versatility conferred by the presence of a magnetic circular head: it can be detached from the supporting body, rotated, and repositioned by adopting any orientation, provided that the connection is via electric cable. This aspect recurs in all versions, from the simplest, for the table, to the more articulated floor and wall versions.
The Ixa floor lamp is available in two variants: a more essential one with a round base, an “L” stem and the characteristic round head. A second floor version features a system of arms and spherical counterweights which on the one hand constitute a more significant visual reference to Calder’s furniture and on the other make the lamp more versatile by allowing the light to be directed in a more articulated way. The family of wall lamps is also very interesting: also in this case declined with a simpler model with a round plate and an “L” arm, and a more articulated version in which the arm and spherical counterweight system returns.
The Foster+Partners studio adopts a dynamic approach to light design with the idea of creating a series of versatile lamps that adapt to different needs over time and space. Ixa is a lamp that works in multiple contexts and that responds to various functional needs relating not only to the domestic space but also to the work space as well as to a contract context. It is no coincidence that the design phases are carried out in close collaboration with the production departments, according to a model defined “design by making” by Mike Holland, head of industrial design at Foster+Partners studio, who underlines the importance of experimenting response of design ideas to different types of solicitation to perfect all aspects step by step.
Starting from Calder’s kinetic sculptures to arrive at functional and illuminating sculptures for the home or office, pursuing and achieving an ideal that Holland defines as “elegant balance through precision engineering”. This combination of engineering and elegance makes the value of this family of lamps unique: in the balance between form and function, none prevails over the other, but both are fully satisfied. The secret? “Behind this visual simplicity – explains Holland ¬– lies a technical complexity that allows this graceful movement and the project focuses on how each joint must respect and retain freedom of movement”.
As often happens in prestigious design, elegance hides a design complexity that returns an excellent formal result but also a personalized user experience guided by the interaction between man and the object. An interaction that Holland describes as “analogue” because it involves one or more real gestures by the user who, thanks to the magnetic sphere, the mobile arms and the counterweights, can obtain the perfect light for every space and every instant and at the same time have a sculpture object of timeless elegance.
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