Porcelain lamp ETICA by ILIDE, The story of the project.
Updated: Jul 18, 2018
Etica’s story started in an old historic pottery workshop in Nove in the province of Vicenza, one of the most renowned places in the world for the production of ceramics. And it is in Nove, in the old family workshop of the artisans I work with (Mario and Luigi), that I first found a cylinder of porcelain abandoned in a corner among many prototypes with something strange about it, as if someone had written something inside the porcelain.
I then stopped suddenly, grabbed the cylinder and immediately asked “and what about this?”. I remember Mario smiled, pleased that someone had noticed it. He explained that it was an unsuccessful experiment, an attempt to apply a colored pigment between two layers of fine porcelain, the idea was to create a translucent porcelain that would show a drawing, such as a watermark hidden in a piece of paper.
He said, however, that the technique was unstable and that in fact the cylinder was the only survivor of a series of 10, of which 9 had broken during the baking process. I decided to take the cylinder anyway and start working on it. I liked the idea and in my opinion the problems which Mario spoke about could be the inspiration for something new.
I thought to illuminate the cylinder from inside with a light bulb, using light to make the colored pigment emerge and amplify it. The result was very pleasing and created a contrast between the two states of the lamp, when 'off' the porcelain mostly shows the white structure of the raw material and when 'on' the porcelain, due to it being very thin, lets light emerge and highlights the random design in the material. I chose then to add the lightness of glass to protect and envelop the ceramic, because it is inherent in the nature of things that light things encase heavier ones, like the sky encases the earth or petals the heart of a flower. Also I gave the glass a bud shape, to which I associated a work of geometrical synthesis.
The first prototype of the porcelain lamp ETICA (so named because it was inspired by the natural principles that reference very ethic of design) was assembled and exhibited in 2012 at SUPERSTUDIO during Milan Design Week; it was immediately well received by the public and its photographs circulated on the whole web, ending up on INTERNI magazine published in 2013 in a good article called "objects inside".
ETICA's story started in 2012 but the lamp's design was definitely not finished; in the following years I worked with the artisans in an attempt to redesign the porcelain cylinder to avoid breaks, collapses and deformation during the production process. The cylinder became slightly conical and ribbed at the base and in the end we found out how to apply the colored pigment, inside the ceramic body, without affecting the white exterior of the porcelain. The alterations did not change the shape that today is well suited for interesting experiments with new materials and dimensions.
Now the ETICA design model, with its transparent bell shape and the slightly conical diffuser heart, is patented at the European Patent Office, to protect the years of work and ingenuity that its design required. By buying it, one not only has a lamp with a unique and exclusive design, but the result of long experimentation and research of style.
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