Ron Arad’s New Light Marries Simplicity and Cutting-Edge Technology

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Cono di Luce took over the LODES showroom at Milan Design Week 2023. Photo by De Pasquale+Maffini

By

May 16, 2023

Lodes, the Italian lighting design house, made a splash during Milan Design Week with their newest collaboration with the Israeli artist and industrial designer Ron Arad. “Cono di Luce” combines simplicity with cutting-edge technology by using a circuit board as a textile in a pendulum lamp.

The disarmingly complex design takes one of Lodes’s signature forms, a truncated cone made from Pyrex, and adds Ron’s minimalist drawings via a flexible, Printed Circuit Board (PCB) sheet. The conductive sheets, made from layers of fiberglass and copper, are usually used in small electronics, but Lodes wanted to study the material’s transparency and interplay with lighting as if it were any other fabric, like organza or lace. 

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Photo by Kinonauts

A highly technical, 33-step process transfers Ron’s black and transparent striped design to the surface, etches circuitry into the PCB sheet and lays more than 200 tiny LED lights strategically along the pattern. The sheet is then transferred to a frame, also made from PCB, and mounted to the glass, invisibly securing it to the form.

When the light is turned off, the PCB looks like a piece of paper has been wrapped around the conical form. It’s gray with a thin red border. Ron’s signature, scribbled in a striking silver, wraps around one of the corners. The material looks like it will block out most of the light, pushing it out only from the top and bottom, but when the fixture is turned on, the thin, papery sheet transforms into a partially transparent, striped accent. When the PCB wraps around “Cono di Luce,” it overlaps and creates a lattice pattern, like an analogue screen going haywire. The vertical lines diffuse the light, but do not fully block it, creating a multi-textured pattern that shifts from straight lines to diamond points depending on the angle.

Ron says his vision was perfectly executed. In a statement to Lodes, he said, “​​Sometimes you start with an idea and in the process, you lose something. In this case, I don’t think we lost anything. If anything, we gained. I am very happy with the results as well as the interesting journey we had to arrive to this place. If you look at the sketches and at the end result, it’s the same.”

While Ron’s primary focus was on the red colorway, Lodes also offers the “Cono di Luce” in gray and gold. These more understated versions of the light move Ron’s prominent signature to the inner folds of the lamp, which make them more versatile for subdued, professional settings. 

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The lamps are on display in Lodes’s new Milan showroom, which heavily celebrates their collaboration with Ron. His striped drawing and red frame are transposed to the cream curtains, walls and floor, tilted and criss-crossed. They creep against a huge flatscreen, which plays a short video about the design process, moiré lines visible. 

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Elara (foreground) and Vollum (background) in the LODES showroom in Milan.

The showroom also highlights other recent collaborations, including the “Elara” by Nika Zupnac, a round suspension lamp that reflects planetary alignments, and “Volum” by Snøhetta, which pays tribute to Italian globe-shaped lamps.

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