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Bocci 87: Omer Arbel's latest design debuts at Luminaire Chicago

An ethereal exploration of materiality, Omer Arbel’s 87 Series uniquely transforms glass into sculptural lighting elements.
An ethereal exploration of materiality, Omer Arbel’s 87 Series uniquely transforms glass into sculptural lighting elements.

An ethereal exploration of materiality, Omer Arbel’s 87 Series uniquely transforms glass into sculptural lighting elements that blur the boundaries between craft and design. The stunning light, introduced at Euroluce during Milan Design Week 2017, has made its U.S. debut at Luminaire Chicago where 61 pendants combine to create an expansive and captivating modern chandelier.

Made by using soda water to trap air in an ultra-heated glass matrix, long sections of glass are then pulled and stretched like taffy. These stretched glass segments are continuously folded back onto itself multiple times and restretched to create sublime glass elements.

To provide illumination, a LED strip is inserted at one end and runs across the width of the piece doubling as a support, highlighting the microfilaments created by the folding motion while emphasizing the gradient of textures created by the material. The loops of glass are doubly supported by airline cables, allowing the pieces to be arranged in endless configurations.

Arbel developed this technique with inspiration from watching master glassblowers gather and rapidly spin glass on the floor during his residency at Pilchuck Glass School. He then had the idea of stretching the glass to create a more elegant and fluent shape using the same motions that taffy makers use. This developed technique is conceptually simple but requires a high level of skill and sensitivity from the glassblowers as the process is extremely precise, requiring the glass to be at an exact temperature in order to create the bubbles. Through experimentation and months of refinement, 87 evolved.

Founded in a red barn in the middle of hay fields on the outskirts of Vancouver, Canada, Bocci started with one product, the 14 Series, which catapulted them to develop a wide-ranging catalog of lighting, furniture, and electrical fittings.

Luminaire discovered Omer Arbel’s work while visiting ICFF in New York City, where the 14 Series was making its debut and were immediately impressed by the purity of form and proportion of the glass sphere light. After offering support and mentorship to the young creatives, Luminaire brought the collection into their showrooms, becoming the first U.S brand to offer the line.

July 2017