If the calendar on the wall (which is actually the phones in our pockets) can be believed, it is 2022! That means it's time to look back at all the lights, designers, and brands who took home industry accolades in 2021:
2021 represented the sixth annual Archiproducts Design Awards, in which a jury of architects, designers, journalists, photographers, and creative directors evaluated over 750 submissions to determine the products and projects that exemplify international design excellence.
We're pleased to say that the first of the three Archiproducts Design Award winners in our list today is Gigi table light, designed by Canadian Studio d'Armes in partnership with Montreal's Verre d'Onge glassworks and design studio. Their shared goal in designing Gigi table lamp (and its larger sibling, Gigi Grand floor light) was to inspire a sensation of happy comfort in all who fall under Gigi's light.
Technologically, the Gigi collection is equally masterful. Its integrated up and down LED lighting is not only dimmable, but includes dim-to-warm technology, lowering the light's colour temperature (stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on this fascinating topic soon!) as it dims to maximize comfort and coziness.
A characteristically conceptual design from Davide Groppi's eponymous brand, Anima floor light was designed by Groppi and Giorgio Rava based on discussions around simplicity and essentiality in twentieth-century art, and in particular the wire sculptures of Fausto Melotti.
Anima is a celebration of negative space, with its body reduced to only the barest necessities: a narrowing stem, along which runs a strip of LEDs, and a firm base to hold it upright. The one sculptural embellishment in Anima's form is where the the top of the stem curls back on itself in an incomplete circle, creating a hook upon which it can catch the soul—the simple idea from which Anima takes its name.
Groppi and Rava's expressive design is supported by equally-thoughtful technology. In addition to its LEDs being touch-dimmable, Anima is powered via USB, eliminating the need for reengineering or adaptors for regional power differences.
Feel Anima floor light's hooked top catch your soul
Luceplan's Illan Suspension Light
Red Dot Design Award: Best of the Best Lighting Design
The design competition that would become The Red Dot Awards was launched in Germany in 1955. Its goal was to promote modernization and a greater focus upon design in German consumer goods in order to improve the lives of German citizens. In 1961, international entries were accepted, and from then the competition would gradually become one of the most prestigious internationally-recognized design awards in the world.
This year, The Red Dot Awards honoured Zsuzsanna Horvath's Illan pendant light for Luceplan with not only a win, but the "best of the best" distinction in the lighting category. The "best of the best" distinction is bestowed upon Red Dot Award winners that are dubbed to be truly exceptional, often in that they pioneer new technology or techniques.
Every Illan suspension light begins with humble (though high-quality) plywood, which is meticulously laser-cut into a long, continuous line. Through precise control of subtle variations in the thickness of the line, Illan gains both strength and its supple form. Suspended from the ceiling, the Illan pendant's engineering relies upon gravity to pull it into shape, adding volume and eye-catching intrigue.
Laser-cut precision; indescribable beauty
Flos' WireLine Suspension Light
Interior Design's Best of Year Awards: Best Chandelier
Since 2005, Interior Design magazine has recognized the projects, products, and people that represent the very best in their respective fields and industries with the Best of Year Awards. Every year, these awards are bestowed by a panel of Interior Design editors, who make their selection from lists of categorized finalists determined by public voting from the architecture and design community.
Highly conceptual and intensely research-based design studio Formafantasma designed WireLine linear suspension light to expand upon the the themes found in their first lighting design for Flos: WireRing wall sconce. By broadening and flattening the combination support and power cable—an element usually hidden in designer lights—Formafantasma make it a central graphic element.
Attached to the ceiling at either end, this cable forms a parabola that supports a ridged tube glass diffuser, which adds a hint of visual complexity to WireLine's lighting character. Left on its own or used in interlocking clusters, WireLine is a boldly minimalist design well worthy of recognition.
Simple and sustainable are the core of Formafantasma's design ethos
FontanaArte's Re and Regina Table Lights
Wallpaper* Design Award: Best Reissue
Bobo Piccoli's Re (left) and Regina (right) table lamps for FontanaArte evoke the skill and strategy of chess
One of the great advantages of the Wallpaper* Design Awards is that, like fashion and style, they adapt their awards to recognize greatness rather than expecting greatness to conform to their structure. The categories into which winning designs, projects, and people are sorted are often invented based upon common qualities or themes among the honourees.
In 2021, the Best Reissue category honoured classic and iconic lighting, furniture, and objects that were rereleased in 2021, including Bobo Piccoli's icons of mid-century design, Re and Regina table lamps. Originally designed for FontanaArte in 1968, Re and Regina combine simple geometric shapes, captured in satin white glass, their chess-inspired forms.
Not satisfied to simply rerelease the pair, FontanaArte reengineered Re and Regina for the contemporary design community. With new energy-efficient integrated LEDs and an on-cord dimmer, these reimagined Piccoli designs truly represent the best of reissued classics.
Regina table lamp embodies the power, strength, and refinement of the all-powerful chess queen in its comfortable glow
In Dome Nomad portable table and floor light, Italian design studio Chiaramonte Marin and Czech lighting brand Brokis capture the iconic skyline and ephemeral character of Venice. Unlike the Knot collection, Brokis' previous collaboration with Alfredo Chiaramonte and Marco Marin, Dome Nomad portable lamp relies more on form than material for its essence.
Dome Nomad's substantial shape—inspired by the domed rooftops of Venice—combines with the lightness of Brokis' signature blown glass to create an intriguing contrast. Even ignoring the genius of its conceptual value, Dome Nomad is simply a beautiful designer light and conveniently portable rechargeable lantern.
The interplay of reflection and refraction in Dome Nomad's blown glass diffuser evokes a trail of moonlight reflected along Venice's canals. Photo by Martin Chum, courtesy of Brokis
Luca Nichetto's Space Invaders collection for Stellar Works features bold shapes and colours evocative of the Memphis design movement. This is doubly apt since the video arcades that the original Space Invaders game helped create drew heavily on the frenetic energy and excitement of Memphis for their aesthetic.
Although winning the Interior Design's Best of Year Award for Table Lamps, Hoba side table is, in fact, a lamp table—that is, it's a table that also provides light. Although, at 40cm tall, Hoba is too small to be a side table of its own, it is perfect for adding levels and accent lighting to all of the spaces (ed.—Don't do it.) that it (ed.—I'm warning you.) INVADES (ed.—You're fired).
Dwell Design Awards: Best Lighting & Community Pick
The Reflection (pictured) and Echocollections are two of three simple yet conceptual designer lighting collaborations between designer David Weeks and Tala
Dwell—the magazine, rather than LightForm's furniture-focused sister company—has a more democratic approach to their awards than most. When opened, submissions for projects are made through the Dwell website while product submissions are made through use of a designated tag on Instagram. Dwell then collects the nominees and curates a shortlist of finalists, which are then judged by a jury of professionals alongside online voting by Dwell's members and subscribers.
The Reflection family of lights, the first of three collaborations between designer David Weeks and British lighting brand Tala, was honoured with not only the jury's selection for Best Lighting, but also earned the public's admiration with the Community Pick title. Comprised of Enno, Nomo, Oblo, and Oval table lights, Reflection is an elegant but fun collection of table lights that evokes Tala's classic designer light bulbs in its softly rounded white forms. The diffusers are slightly-smaller reflections of the bodies, joined at a narrowed point between them.
Brothers, lighting designers, and Koncept cofounders Edmond and Kenneth Ng earned a Red Dot Design Award for the exceptionally versatile Splitty desk light in 2018, making it perhaps unsurprising that 2021's awards brought another win for the collection's newest developments: Splitty Reach and the Splitty Pro upgraded variants.
Splitty Reach table light features an added joint and arm, increasing the overall reach and adjustability of the lithe Splitty form. Every Splitty light features a gently-contoured head with a touch on/off/dimmer switch, a 360° pivoting joint between the stem and the base, and a USB 1A port in the stem to charge phones and wireless headsets. The Pro series doubles the amperage of the USB port to 2A for tablet charging and adds an occupancy sensor that shuts off Splitty Pro or Splitty Pro Reach for ecological functionality.
The LIT Lighting Design Awards are one of several targeted international design awards collectively managed by the 3c Awards group, who seek to inspire and promote creativity in design all over the world. Archilume, a Canadian designer lighting brand founded by Saleem Khattak, is precisely the sort of company that LIT Lighting Design Awards are for.
Khattak saw the potential LED technology represented in terms of combining architectural and decorative lighting to add a new level of both functionality and beauty to projects. Since 2013, Archilume has released a number of LED-based lighting collections that are simple yet striking, as well as being particularly suited to customized installations. The most recent of these is the Ovolo suspension light.
Forever looking for ways to innovate, Khattak designed Ovolo using organic LED (OLED) technology. Where standard LEDs use yellow phosphor to produce light, OLEDs use an organic carbon-based compound that, in addition to being more ecological when the time for disposal arrives, can be produced as a thin, flexible material. Ovolo suspension light—inspired by the well-worn stones found along a riverbed—uses such an OLED lighting surface to produce a light that is as soft and smooth as its aluminium frame.
Combining simple forms and cutting-edge sustainable technology, Ovolo suspension lights enhance the tranquility of any space
Award-Winning Designers & Brands
Dezeen Awards: Architecture Studio of the Year
The Frame Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award
Both the Dezeen Awards and the Frame Awards are relatively new among architecture and design awards, having been launched in 2017. But their newness is more than made up for by the respect and influence that Dezeen and Frame Magazine have in the world of design. Furthermore, their newness makes them all the more prestigious for the products, projects, and studios upon whom they are bestowed.
And, it must be said, Asian design studio Neri&Hu is no stranger to awards. In addition to countless design awards, the studio has earned multiple Designer of the Year awards since Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu founded it in 2004. From their strategically-located headquarters in Shanghai, they pursue a multicultural and multidisciplinary approach to design. Through their international offices, they work with brands, designers, and customers all over the world.
A notable Neri&Hu collaboration in designer lighting is with Shanghai-based design brand Stellar Works, for whom they serve as creative directors. In this position, they not only contribute their own designs—such as the sublimely subtle refined industrial EVERYDAY collection (above)—but also curate the furniture and lighting designs of other professionals.
Though it may seem odd that a design studio less than twenty years old has already earned a Lifetime Achievement Award, there's no denying that they've already created several lifetime's worth of exceptional design, and will surely continue to do so.
Elle Deco International Design Awards' Designer of the Year
Elle Deco is a worldwide chain of publications, with each serving its own regional fashion and design community as well as the world at large. Given their international influence and well-earned reputation, acknowledgement through the Elle Deco International Design Awards (EDIDA for short) is widely coveted and a great honour.
The list of previous EDIDA Designers of the Year is a who's-who of exceptional design, and it's no real surprise to see Sebastian Herkner's name join the list of honourees. Herkner has been turning heads across the design world since founding his own studio in 2006. He's created designs across a wide range of fields, including product, industrial, and interior design projects, as well as acclaimed furniture and lighting designs—as our regular blog readers will know—such as Parachilna's vivacious Manila collection of lights.
Launched in 2005, the Czech Grand Design Awards serve as a way for the Academy of Design of the Czech Republic to both encourage and celebrate the great design achievements of their citizens and nation.
It is therefore entirely logical that multidisciplinary designerand genius Lucie Koldova, Creative Director of the Czech brand Brokis, was the first designer to win two Grand Designer of the Year Awards, let alone the three that this year's win represents. With experience in designing lighting, furniture, eyeglasses, and interiors, Lucie Koldova is a brilliant designer making the most of the opportunities success has offered her.
Perhaps one of the most-amusing elements in Koldova's 2020 win (it was announced in 2021—and also she's fabulous—so we're including it in this list anyway) is that, as the Grand Designer of the Year 2019, she designed the 2020 award that she and the other honourees will be taking home.
It is generally true that lighting designers and other creative individuals do their best work as an extension of themselves—whether a passion, a dream, a challenge, or simple curiosity. However, anyone who pursues creative talent as a profession soon comes to realize that there are many, many other people who are in the same field (just take a look at the number of geniuses there are on our designers page).
Patrons, clients, and customers without experience in the field can find the selection available bewildering (we know our customers often do, what with our webstore's astoundingly vast* offering). Lacking the aid of professional guides (such as those found at LightForm's offices and showrooms in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, and Winnipeg), awards can be an invaluable sign of quality and achievement.
In addition to the honour of being recognized by one's peers, colleagues, and customers, a design award can mean the difference between landing a project, a commission, a sale… or not. Though we all wish awards could be the frivolous yet joyful expressions of accomplishment they should be, the simple truth is they are all but necessary for success.
With that in mind, and with the knowledge that our readership is largely design professionals (and my mom. Hi Mom!), we've collected a few of the deadlines for some of the awards that we encourage you to investigate and submit your work for! (Dates are as posted at time of publication and may be subject to change)
And, if you're a lighting designer who has earned accolades for projects in which you've used LightForm lights, reach out to your representative and ask about featuring your project on LightForm's blog and website. We love bragging about our friends and collaborators in the world of good design!
*It really is astoundingly vast. Breathtakingly vast. Nauseatingly vast. Just really really vast.
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