Ur­ban Liv­ing

The Georgia Straight - - Contents - > BY LUCY LAU

The let­ters OVO may be most as­so­ci­ated with Canadian rap­per Drake’s record la­bel and owl-fes­tooned sports­wear line—ovo Sound and Oc­to­ber’s Very Own, re­spec­tively—but, in the name of lo­cal en­gi­neer Adrian Fisher’s sub­mis­sion to the lat­est in­stall­ment of LAMP (Light­ing Ar­chi­tec­ture Move­ment Project), they em­body the in­ter­na­tional light­ingde­sign com­pe­ti­tion’s theme for 2018 per­fectly: bal­ance.

“I tried to go as lit­eral as pos­si­ble,” Fisher says on the phone of his en­try, “ev­ery­thing from the name—a palin­drome—right down to the ma­te­ri­als.”

OVO, a sym­met­ri­cal light­ing ob­ject shaped like a su­per­sized Tylenol tablet and crafted pri­mar­ily from con­crete and sil­i­cone, is one of 10 fi­nal­ists in the “es­tab­lished” cat­e­gory in this year’s LAMP. Like the Os in its name, the piece it­self is rem­i­nis­cent of an in­gre­di­ent found by the dozen in su­per­mar­kets around the world: the hum­ble and ever-ver­sa­tile egg. In fact, it was the cluck­ing from a next-door neigh­bour’s chick­ens that in­spired the de­signer to dream up the ovoid lu­mi­naire.

“It was all kind of a funny co­in­ci­dence,” notes Fisher, who worked as a me­chan­i­cal-spe­cial-ef­fects tech­ni­cian in the lo­cal film in­dus­try be­fore div­ing into prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, “but it seemed to work out well.”

In ad­di­tion to its smooth, rounded form, the OVO stands up­right like an egg thanks to its del­i­cate and balanced con­struc­tion. A dark, rigid ce­ment base—clev­erly strength­ened with co­conut fi­bre—is jux­ta­posed with a flex­i­ble sil­i­cone shade that scat­ters light from en­ergy-ef­fi­cient LEDS. Pow­dered eggshells were even fused into the sil­i­cone, cre­at­ing a soft, frosted façade while demon­strat­ing Fisher’s com­mit­ment to en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious de­sign. “That’s al­ways at the fore­front [of my mind],” he says, “like, ‘Okay, how can we re­duce the amount of ma­te­ri­als we’re us­ing? Or use more ecofriendly ma­te­ri­als? Or how can we re­cy­cle this down the road?’ ”

Mother Earth was also a key con­cern for Michel Du­ver­net, owner of B.C.’S barn-barn de­signs, whose Or­bital se­ries is an­other fi­nal­ist in LAMP’S “es­tab­lished” group for 2018. The Nel­son-based builder wanted to pay trib­ute to his home in the Koote­nays—where log­ging makes up a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the com­mu­nity’s econ­omy—by em­ploy­ing re­gion­ally sourced wood. “I have ac­cess to a small mill that a friend owns,” he shares, “so some of it is stuff I’ve milled up my­self, get­ting my hands dirty with lo­cal ma­te­ri­als.”

In the solid-wood ver­sion of Or­bit, glue-lam­i­nated red cedar and Sitka spruce meet in a chan­de­lier-mo­bile hy­brid, its slen­der, curv­ing arms meant to mimic blades of grass while the glob­u­lar dif­fusers drip­ping from their ends are stand-ins for dew or droplets of wa­ter af­ter a fresh rain­storm. A pro­pri­etary mech­a­nism en­sures that each part ro­tates with ease—both in­de­pen­dently and in sync with the oth­ers as needed. “It ac­tu­ally works re­ally well in a liv­ing space, given the ver­sa­til­ity of it—be­ing able to move,” Du­ver­net notes. “So it re­ally adds a nice vari­able com­po­nent; it’s not a static, fixed thing. Func­tion­ally, you can ro­tate the lights so that they’re mainly aimed at one spot.”

Be­sides ex­e­cut­ing the bal­anc­ing act that a func­tion­ing mo­bile re­quires— and meld­ing a con­tem­po­rary style with one that’s more or­ganic—du­ver­net sought to em­body LAMP’S theme through a con­trast of man­made metal and nat­u­ral woods. There’s also a Cnc–cut ver­sion of the Or­bit that’s crafted from Que­bec maple ply­wood, as op­posed to the more com­monly im­ported Baltic or Rus­sian va­ri­eties, and a floor­stand­ing model dubbed the Floor­bit that uses the same com­bi­na­tion of el­e­ments—and that ap­pears to defy grav­ity. “It was re­ally about hav­ing a nice re­la­tion­ship with the ma­te­ri­als and bal­anc­ing through in that sense,” Du­ver­net says.

Both the OVO and Or­bital se­ries will be on show at LAMP’S Bal­ance Ex­hi­bi­tion Awards Gala, the first of eight talks, in­stal­la­tions, and soirees hap­pen­ing as part of IDS Van­cou­ver’s off-site pro­gram­ming for 2018. The event—open to those who pur­chase a wrist­band ($30) for IDS Van­cou­ver’s Off­site pro­grams—will show­case light­ing-de­sign pro­to­types from 20 fi­nal­ists in LAMP’S “es­tab­lished” and “emerg­ing” cat­e­gories. Van­cou­ver is well rep­re­sented in the lat­ter cat­e­gory, too, with Ri­cardo Gomez’s sculp­tural Tilt and Rom­ney Ship­way’s scale­like Me­dian in the top 10. Fi­nal­ists in the stu­dent class will have their ren­der­ings pub­lished in LAMP’S printed pro­gram.

Lamp—founded in Van­cou­ver in 2013 as a group ex­hi­bi­tion dis­play­ing light and form with an em­pha­sis on ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign—is an an­nual con­test that chal­lenges de­sign­ers, engi­neers, and other cre­atives around the world to build an orig­i­nal light­ing ob­ject in keep­ing with a cer­tain theme. This year’s com­pe­ti­tion re­ceived more than 140 sub­mis­sions from 85 coun­tries.

The LAMP Bal­ance Ex­hi­bi­tion Awards Gala takes place at In­form Con­tract (405 Rail­way Street) on Tues­day (Septem­ber 18).

Clock­wise from left, OVO’S LAMP sub­mis­sion (Adrian Fisher photo); and B.C.– based de­signer Michel Du­ver­net’s Or­bital se­ries (barn-barn de­signs pho­tos).

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