You may remember him as the man behind the satellite dish-looking Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 speaker, but Danish industrial designer Øivind Slaatto’s real passion lies in the design of light fixtures. Known for infusing his pieces with elements of nature, the Copenhagen-based creator once again draws inspiration from the great outdoors for his latest offering, the Patera lamp for Louis Poulsen.
“Patera was born of my fascination with the Fibonacci sequence. You can find the spiral pattern wherever you look in nature, like in the seed formation in sunflowers and pine cones, for example,” he explains. Two years of hard work and numerous prototypes later, the Patera — a large, spherical pendant lamp constructed completely from strips of white matt PVC shaped like Fibonacci spirals — was finally realised. To create a more dynamic visual effect, its spirals are arranged in an asymmetrical fashion. While 10 long strips are twisted in one direction, the remaining 20 shorter ones are arranged in the other.
Nature’s Fibonacci sequence is one of the recurrent themes in your work. Why is nature so fruitful as inspiration?
What you find in nature is the result of billions of years of evolution — and only the best design has survived. It would be stupid not to study what you find out there. Nature is simply a never ending source of inspiration. That said, as designers, we should not ever copy nature. Instead, we should learn from nature; discover the principles behind it.
You went spherical with the Patera Lamp, what inspired this?
Whenever I design something, I try to focus on the essence of what the design should do. In this case, it’s about providing light. And the most essential of all lights — and driving force behind any life form in our solar system — is the sun, which is spherical.
What was the design process like?
Normally, my preferred method of designing is through sketching by hand. However, this project was very much dependent on computers and 3D software due to the complexity of its geometry. A great deal of trial and error was also involved in realising this lamp. I created about four to five prototypes on my own — the first of which I made using big balloon — before Louis Poulsen took over. They helped in refining the light efficiency of the lamp, finding the right materials to incorporate and ensuring that the production assembly time of the lamp was realistic.
Any particular reason why you chose white matte PVC?
Originally, I had other materials in mind but matte PVC showcases light in a beautiful way and has some outstanding specifications with regards to translucence and durability that is hard to beat. As for the colour, I decided to work with white because the geometry of the lamp becomes even more pronounced without the distraction of colour and the light gets all the attention it deserves. Those who really want a colour can easily install a coloured lightbulb in the lamp. But I personally like it in white.
What other projects will you be involved in this year?
Earlier in January I launched a new tech device I designed for Sputniik at the CES tradeshow in Las Vegas. Next week I will be debuting a light which is kind of a cross between a lamp and a meeting room at the Danish Design MAKERS exhibition at IMM Cologne, Germany (January 18-24). Following that, I will showcase some traditional lamps at Stockholm Design Week. I am also currently working on some objects with Time as the theme for Milan Design Week.