A Gypsum Moonscape: The Seltanica Lamp

With a smooth, simple exterior, and an intricate interior, each of the Cmmnwlth's Seltanica Lamps are hand cast from white Gypsum. New York based designers and founders of Cmmnwlth Zoe Coombes and David Boira, have been working within the worlds of contemporary art and industrial furniture design, with an aims to produce work that embodies a sense of elegant desire through an engagement with both the newest of tools and the oldest of techniques.

Remembering the tactile pleasures of landscape, moonscape, and perhaps even more so, the fragility of aging skin, the Seltanica Lamps express a formalism unique to the contemporary world. Working within modeling software normally used to create animal membranes for animation, the Seltanica's interiors are as much a product of technological experiment as they are guided by classic compositional rules for the creation of desirous adornment.

"Too often, performative qualities of ornate surfaces are dismissed as 'mere ornament', that is fussy, extraneous symbols of decadence. Yet how much skill and pleasure have we, as designers, lost by renouncing ourselves of the obligation to deploy fields of entangled detail?" The designers explained. Seltanica Lamps are an attempt to restore the potentially powerful relationships between the smooth, and the ornate. While the minimal elegance of the lamp's cool exterior thrives on simplicity, the interior's rusticated walls, fleecy and shaggy enough to loose all sense of hard edge, read as soft surfaces.

The Seltanica's interior is the product of a wet machine; one that is controlled and skillfully manipulated by the human hand. While the lamp maintains industrial characteristics that allow it to be replicated with precision, and infinitum, the interior surfaces are not what we most often associate with the machinic that is, simplified, idealized, modules. Rather, the thickened interior is filled with variegated, and erotically charged fats and folds deforming light and shadow, placed just where they perform best under the soft white glow of a frosted bulb.

Photography by Mike Garten