Finalists in LAMP's fourth annual lighting design competition channel constellations and storm clouds

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      It’s safe to say that LAMP’s international lighting design competition is helping put Vancouver on the map. Now in its fourth year, the locally born celebration of light, architecture, and movement challenges professional and amateur designers from around the world to craft an innovative lighting fixture that conveys a specified theme.

      Cosmic was the subject for 2016 and judging from the 130-plus submissions received by LAMP founders Annika Hagen and Nicole Fox—the most the competition has seen yet—the global design community definitely delivered. Among the recently announced finalists are entries from as far as Italy, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong, plus two inventions from LAMP’s home.

      Matthew Kennedy, founder of the Chilliwack-based Loom Lighting, nabbed a top-10 spot in the established category with his celestial Diaphanous light. A streamlined unit that emits LED light through a transparent dome, the fixture forgoes the need for bulbs thus minimizing the loss of energy that typically occurs when light shines through a shade or diffuser.

      A more obvious feature, perhaps, is the image of nebulae laser-etched into the structure. Astronomy buffs will recognize that the spots form the star map of the Northern hemisphere.

      Kennedy specializes in high-efficiency, bulb-less fixtures, which use light-guide technology to transport light with as little energy lost as possible.

      “The cool thing about this particular light is the subjective aspect of it: it looks like a constellation or a stellar night sky,” Kennedy explains to the Straight by phone. “Those actual features are where the light comes from.”

      Designers Robert Geyer and Rena-Li Kuhrt of Vancouver’s Sasamat Creative, meanwhile, approached the concept of cosmic from a daytime perspective. Constructed through glass-blowing, the duo’s Cloud light—a bulbous, slightly ominous figure reminiscent of a cumulonimbus cloud—is a finalist in the emerging category.

      Geyer exercised his 20-plus years’ experience with the art by blowing molten glass into a wire cage hand-knotted by Kuhrt. The wire was removed shortly after, revealing a see-through shape that bulges in some places and depresses in others. An LED light radiates from within.

      “We really wanted to see how the glass would work while it was being pushed through the wire form, because every piece is unique,” Kuhrt notes by phone. “You can’t totally control what will happen.”

      “Those kind of spontaneous reactions…were really important to us,” adds Geyer.

      Designers Robert Geyer and Rena-Li Kuhrt blew molten glass into a hand-knotted wire cage to construct their Cloud light.
      Sasamat Creative

      The remaining finalists found their own ways to embrace the extraterrestrial, too: Dario Narvaez and Anthony Baxter’s funnel-shaped floor lamp channels a black hole, while California-based designer Megan Lin modeled her cube-and-circle structure after the orbit of the Earth and Sun.

      Elsewhere, a combination of concrete and maple-wood embodies the cool nature of the moon. An adjustable glass shade surrounded by a brass ring is a reference to Saturn.

      All 20 finalists in the established and emerging designer categories will be showcased at the upcoming LAMP international lighting design exhibit. The winners in each group—as selected by an esteemed panel of design professionals that includes Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola and local interior designer Andrea McLean—will also be announced during this time.

      LAMP’s international lighting exhibit runs from November 3 to 6 at Jan Kath Studio (505 Railway Street). Tickets to the opening night are available online. Admission to the following days is by donation.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau