On Wednesday 8th of November, Emma Maxwell scooped the pool at the Asia Pacific Architectural and Design Awards in Hong Kong
Maxwell who was in a line up with a formidable “who's who” list of prestigious international designers, including the eponymous North American design firm Yabu Pushelberg for Stellarworks and Neri and Hu for Poltrona Frau, to win Best of the Best in Product Design with her Flume Lighting Collection (commercially available from June 2017).
The design intent was to create a collection of luminaires rolled out as direct market consumer pieces, collectively telling a visual narrative . The creative inspiration is derived from atmospheric notions of alchemy - as if a cloud imploded with a chemical reaction and natural fireworks resulted. The materials used are metal, marble and glass and are paramount in further articulating the narrative of alchemical transformation. With a brass body wrapped by mysterious hand blown glass elements, they reveal themselves to be both intriguing and essential. The Flume collection comes in ceiling , table top and wall mounted versions.
The objective to roll out Flume as a mass consumer piece was met through a lengthy process of engineering, both in terms of form and exploring different options of materiality.
The form is kept simple and clean. Its mystique comes from strategic use of a particular colour of glass and metal components. Like all good design, combining a few simple forms and materials results in a product that transports your imagination to another place.
Hand blown glass is used. The other raw materials, called flux or melting agents, allow glass to soften at lower temperatures. The more sodium oxide present in the glass, the slower it solidifies. This is important for hand-working because it allows the glassmaker more time to shape the material. The various raw materials that the artisan added to the glass mixture was sodium (to make the glass surface semi opaque), nitrate and arsenic (to eliminate bubbles) and coloring or opacifying substances.