Interview with luxlumina
For Munich-based company Shapes, Laura Somaglino, Product Designer with Phoenix Design, designed the pendant luminaire SUMMERA. Its biggest success: German Design Award – Winner 2017. With “luxlumina”, the Swiss Magazine for Architecture and Lighting Design, the Diplom-Designer conducted an interview – available in the current issue 19/2017.
Which general principles or criteria do you follow when designing a luminaire? Phoenix Design is in the tradition of Bauhaus and Ulm School. In today’s context, this means: consistently user-centred and brand-typical, focussed on the needs of the user, on self-explanatory interaction with the product, turning it into a touching experience. With regard to the pendant luminaire for Shapes: reduced and clear language of forms, serene colours, warm light for the room and the people in it, uncomplicated functions.
Is a comprehensive creative brief by the client more of an obstacle or do you see it as beneficial? A comprehensive creative brief is very good and definitely necessary. In the case of Summera, it was about getting a luminaire design going which was to express European design culture, from Scandinavia to Italy.
How did you execute the design of the current luminaire? Which was the basic inspiration? In any case, comprehensive research is the basis for any design. The pendant luminaire was to be deployable both in a restaurant an in private surroundings. Inspiration and trends from architecture, material worlds, fashion and art accompany this process – the archetype of an industrial luminaire of past times was with us since the beginning.
How important was the creative environment at Phoenix Design? Here at Phoenix Design, we enjoy ideal working conditions. Exchange in design circles, comprehensive materials libraries, in-house model making workshop, working times based on trust – creativity can develop freely, very important for us designers.
How does the exchange with the client work out? Do they participate in each single process, or are they presented with the final product? As a rule, all projects and products come into being in close exchange with the client and the development department of the respective company. In the case of the Summera pendant luminaire, this was even more concentrated – which is how the name “SUMMERA” by Phoenix Design came into being. The technical innovations came from Rasmus Pagaard. Materials, shapes, and colours were tested, models were used for finetuning. And the “German Design Award – Winner 2017” of course crowned our work with success, and we accepted the award together.
At the end of the design process, the product becomes the property of the client. How difficult is it for you to let it go? Letting go is not easy. Did I really think of everything? Will interior designers be able to integrate my design into their own work? But during the relaunch last year, it became clear: this is a great luminaire in all its sizes, colours and shapes. And when the first restaurant deployed the luminaire, we were all very happy indeed.
“I think, the creative brief was the most important thing. Right from the very beginning, we were quite clear about what we and our customers wanted, and Phoenix transferred these wishes into aesthetics. The ensuing workshops with Phoenix were particularly good as well, where we took a look at even small details together, and where we could establish that we share the same feeling for detail and quality. SUMMERA is thus completely thought through, from the design via the material to the user-oriented surfaces. Our customers recognise and appreciate this”, says Rasmus Pagaard, CEO of Shapes, about the collaboration.
>> Source [in German]: Lenning, Thea: Design-Hub für nachhaltiges Produktdesign am laufenden Band, [design hub for continuously creating sustainable product design] in: luxlumina 19 (2017), 42-45.