The matter of light - In gifted hands, lighting can be a crossover medium of the highest order, blending sculpture and illumination in equal measure. New technologies, like miniscule LEDs, are enabling adventurous designers and artists to realize forms and concepts that would have been all but impossible a decade ago. The result is a proliferation of luminous one-off and limited-edition objects that serve as a room’s centerpiece, even as they bathe a space in light. Here, five of the most promising talents in this burgeoning new field.

photo : Alain Cornu

Charlotte Cornaton’s home base is Paris, where she’s represented by Galerie BSL, but she considers the world her studio. “I’m always traveling to discover different techniques and traditions in order to mix them together,” says the artist, whose primary focus is ceramics. “It’s a nomadic way of working.” Her latest voyage took her to Jingdezhen, China, the historic center of porcelain production, for a two-month residency during which she developed a series of incredibly delicate — and illuminated — ceramic books. With rippling pages, the books present drawings and text inspired by Cornaton’s nightmares, interpreted via the writings of Carl Jung. “When it comes to symbolism, Jung was always comparing Occidental and Oriental cultures,” she says, which provided natural inspiration for a French designer working in Asia.
Cornaton employed three traditional Chinese porcelain techniques that she learned on location – engraving with celadon glaze, cobalt calligraphy and cloisonné enamel — to adorn the pages with French text and images including horses, volcanoes and serpents. Collectively named Insomnio, the finished pieces are presented on patinated steel stands lit by hidden LEDs, which give each piece a ghostly glow. “I’m a huge lover of books,” says Cornaton, “and I tried to capture their promise of knowledge and light in the design.”

(c) Chavanitas