Inside story: Bocci

A new scientific design direction has resulted in fantastical lighting designs

73V lights by Bocci
73V pendant lighting by Bocci

Since launching in 2005, Canadian company Bocci has steadily carved a niche as the go-to lighting brand for abstract, sculptural solutions. At the heart of this rapid ascent into the lighting world A-list is the experimental approach of the brand’s co-founders, designer and sculptor Omer Arbel and Randy Bishop. The pair are constantly pushing the boundaries in both material investigation and manufacturing methods at Bocci’s Vancouver headquarters, taking a freewheeling approach that results in poetic, progressive creations that have won favour with architects and designers.

28 chandelier by bocci
28 lighting by Bocci

The beauty of Bocci is also the modular nature of its pieces. Each design can be arranged and added to, making it possible to build artful compositions. At their grandest, these can become gargantuan chandeliers, dramatic interventions ideal for large spaces.

In keeping with this logical thinking, Bocci’s designs have been named numerically ever since its debut, the ‘14’ – a simple frosted- glass sphere. To showcase its portfolio, last year Bocci took over a 19th-century former courthouse in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district, using it to house its European showroom and archive. The lofty, white spaces are ideal for exhibiting the brand’s idiosyncratic pieces, such as the ‘84’ chandelier, the copper mesh-covered orbs of which appear to rain down the main stairwell.

‘IN THE PAST, WE WORKED CHIEFLY WITH GLASSBLOWERS; NOW IT’S CHEMISTS AND PHYSICISTS’

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, as part of its dedication to research and development, Bocci spent two years building a glass studio. This state-of-the-art facility enables its team of technicians (70 per cent of whom are female) to explore new techniques for ever more complicated pieces. The three innovative new designs to come out of the studio were unveiled at Euroluce, the biennial lighting show at Milan’s Salone del Mobile, this year. Eac one demonstrates the brand’s groundbreaking approach – the ‘73V’ pendant light, for example, is manufactured using a method discovered accidentally during experiments. Molten glass is plunged into a ceramic-based, heat-resistant fabric, with the cloth’s crinkly lines leaving imprints on the glass. Originally produced in white, the light is now available in a lustrous aqua tone that graduates to clear glass – this colour-fading effect would have been impossible to achieve without the freedom offered by the new studio.

73 lighting by Bocci
73 lighting by Bocci

‘In the past, we collaborated chiefly with master glassblowers and craftspeople. Now it’s chemists and physicists,’ reveals Arbel. But Bocci isn’t out to blind people with science: ‘It’s the emotional qualities in design that matter to us.’ And, thanks to the company’s continued philosophy of inquisitiveness, there’s no knowing what evocative, ethereal creations it’ll dream up next. bocci.ca

This article first appeared in July 2019 issue of Elle Decoration

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