Stripping away the frills poses the risk of coming up against bare essentials, sometimes in a highly visible way. A fine example is Alessandro Zambelli’s new lights designed for exnovo. He calls the collection “Afillia,” a name borrowed from botany. In plant terms, it means leafless, though not lifeless: surely an apt image for a collection of luminous essentials and airy voids.
The results are furnishing extras, either one-offs or limited editions. The avant-garde technology really does print them, but the machined product is in perfect harmony with the intuitive skill of the master-craftsmen who shape the material from the amorphous polymer block.
They finish off the process by hand, lending the personal touch to every creation. The centrepiece of each accessory is a diffuser which embraces and embellishes space. Delicate, lace-like patterns with their geometrical pinholes give rise to two-dimensional origami in thin, curvaceous spirals. Free to waver at will, the light casts fleeting shadows, then beams into unexpected focus, forming compact halos, round and bright. This is energy in fluid form, in the no-man’s land between stuff and shape, air and light.
.exnovo is a brand of HSL, the Trento-based company which was the first to bring digital technology and additive manufacturing to Italy. It has worked with both for 25 years, and specializes in the production of design objects by means of professional 3D printing. A preview of the new AFILLIA family of lamps for .exnovo will be at the forthcoming Maison et Objet trade show (Stand 8 now Stall C7).
Photography courtesy of Alessandro Zambelli