Veiled in chains

Unlike sea monsters or stinging jellyfish, these objects are definitely not dangerous. What we have here are peaceful luminaires and chandeliers, which not only radiate light, but are also designed to inspire creative energies.

Strings and strings of ball-chain, in the case of the majority of products draped and hung from laser-cut steel frames, the latter rendered practically invisible when the design is complete. The core of the luminaire is literally swathed in curtains of a multitude of chains, creating different shapes and colours through which light filters to a greater or lesser extent. The objets d’art are designed by Adam Hoets, an architect and designer from Cape Town/ZA, who founded the Willowlamp brand. It is not always immediately obvious that he drew the inspiration for his designs from nature. The shapes and figures his luminaires appear to represent soon become apparent, of course: creatures that live in the sea, but also ice crystals, wisps of fog, blossoms, sculptures created out of those elements, or other earthly geometries. But just as the finished products capture the viewer’s imagination, so they also demonstrate a striking contrast with respect to the materials they are made of, which are not exactly natural. The Willowlamp luminaires and chandeliers express lightness and heaviness at one and the same time: the delicate, glossy ball-chain curtain sometimes allowing a view into the objet d’art and radiating light into the space. The colours and the ethereal sounding names of the products contribute towards the feeling of lightness – although the finished products are indeed the large, sometimes even gigantic, chandeliers seen hanging in hotel lobbies, grand halls or other large spaces.

Before Adam Hoets founded Willowlamp in 2005, he undertook extensive travels throughout Africa as an architect of wilderness lodges. Upon his return to South Africa, Hoets designed eco-architecture buildings characterised by their organic connection to verdant beauty, and developed the idea of Willowlamp. Besides creating custom-designed works, the design team have now developed an entire collection: exclusive designs that fuse organic forms with high-tech materials and technological processes to create a dramatic new genre of lighting.

Whatever inspires the design of a Willowlamp product, the individual works draw the onlooker in as if by magic. One is never absolutely sure of what the form and appearance of the object is supposed to represent, or whether it is based on a purely abstract idea. In the same way, it is never immediately apparent where the light source is, or how many light sources there are, and why the objet d’art shimmers and reflects light as it does. The delicate veil of strings of ball-chain sparks our imagination and allows any viewer to partake in an exercise "in magic and transformation".