illustris
darkness lit

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the illustrisproject

illustris : darkness lit is a project derived from observations made during a master level architecture essay on repurposing vernacular design. The illustris lamp is the first and only romanian architectural translation to hold light.
Its’ source is found in the romanian vernacular, more specifically, the vertical sculpted wooden porch columns found in romanian vernacular houses.
Projecting light from and onto the traditional lifestyle, it can be argued that the space destined for privacy, family and safety has been lit.

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illustris, darkness lit project and designs
are registered with the Intellectual Property Office.

 

the story of illustris : darkness lit

 

The illustris, darkness lit story begins in a design thriving environment, in between projects during the master level architecture course at the University of Brighton, in the United Kingdom. 
The task of the day : design or redesign a topic of interest for the Practices module. One of the main directions of the essay was the analysis and critique of contemporary status regarding international vernacular inheritance. With more concrete topics of interest coming from the vernacular architecture found in Romania, the essay hinted and ultimately debated the reuse and rejuvenation of household items to propose and discover contemporary uses for ancient items. 

As the illustris lamp stands, it was more than a reinterpretation of an item, as its' roots are found in an architectural element belonging to the porches of vernacular romanian houses. The wooden columns' sculptural qualities suggested a dramatic search towards their inner qualities and identity. 
Through a series of conceptual models and sketches that also looked at Brancusis' Infinite column as a precedent for repetitive vertical design, the illustris : darkness lit lamp found its' essence by being emptied of its excess material and making room for light.

Delicate, brave and careful with its' posture, the illustris : darkness lit lamp stands as a valuable contemporary argument towards vernacular re-design.

And so, the space destined for privacy, family and safety has been lit.

illustris technology explained

The illustris, darkness lit lamp reached its final design after going through a series of design iterations as well as technical challenges. Briefly explained, these are important stages in the manufacture of any illustris, darkness lit lamp design.

THE WOOD BLOCK

Finding the right wood and picking out the best out of the batch has always been the first key task. This lamps’ history has proven that the current wood source is of good grain quality, while keeping to ecological sustainable standards. The wood blocks are carefully dried and finished to a smooth precious surface. They are then cut to the desired size and stored at a constant 21 degrees.

Drilling the hole takes place by using a mechanical lathe machine. The speed at which the lathe operates has been set so that the resulted interior surface is slightly rough. By involving light, the lamp has been treated as a double space. The interior space reminds of the woods’ rough natural state and of the delicate and raw vernacular romanian spirit.

THE INTERIOR

In order for the light to escape the wooden block, angled cuts had to be made. This operation is a careful collaboration between a young eye and a careful hand, on a specially designed cutting installation-tool.

THE CUTS
THE EYE

Following the technical process of removing diagonal edge prisms from the block of wood, the interior space becomes connected to the exterior space through an eye shaped aperture. These apertures are found accross the entire lenght of the lamps’ body.

THE EYE

Following the technical process of removing diagonal edge prisms from the block of wood, the interior space becomes connected to the exterior space through an eye shaped aperture. These apertures are found accross the entire lenght of the lamps’ body.

Before leaving the lamp through each of the apertures, the light cuts accross two sharp edges. Whether light exits the lamp of enters the volume during daytime, it must pass through this narrow and unpredictable threshold.

THE EDGES OF THE EYE

As the light is turned on, the angled planes found above and below each eye-aperture become small welcoming stages where one can see the light caressing the wood surface until it jumps off of the lamp.

THE ANGLED SURFACE
THE PLAY

The eyes in combination with the height of the lamp create a solemn play between the wooden volumes and the light within.

THE HEIGHT

This variable in the lamps’ design is of scenic importance as it will inform the distance accross which the light will be seen travelling within the block of wood.

THE ELEVATION

By simplifying the processes and sculptural qualities into a repetitive volume, with the rhombus at its inception, the geometry becomes available for vertical repetition.

illustris : darkness lit design manifest

illustris, darkness lit is the first contemporary iteration of a romanian vernacular architectural element derived from the romanian vernacular living life style. 

The design looks at the reinterpretation of the wooden porch columns found in vernacular romanian house typologies and presents itself as a wooden sculpted hand carved vertical lamp.

illustris : darkness lit is both an identity that creates light as well as a metaphor for the never ending potential that resides in the eye of the beholder.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

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My favourite bit of process from manufacturing the illustris lamp is the moment when the wood is hand carved and its' iconic presence starts to appear. When the first wooden prism is taken out and the first eye is revealed. Then, the way it feels when your hand discovers the whole body that later carries light. It's something very delicious about being able to feel a sculpture.
It's even more beautiful when that sculpture comes alive, turning it truly into a column of light.

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