Breathing Life into Light

11. 4. 2018, Milan

Preciosa Lighting debuts playful new installation at Salone del Mobile

The days of simply flipping on a light switch for some illumination are long gone. Preciosa Lighting is switching things up and visitors to our exhibition at Milan Design Week will be blown away by the experience.

Called Breath of Light, this installation takes light interactivity to a whole new level. Visitors are integral to the exhibition, becoming a part of it with every breath they share. We spoke with Preciosa Creative Director Michael Vasku, who along with Creative Director Andreas Klug, designed Breath of Light especially for Salone del Mobile. He gave us some interesting insight into dynamic lighting, as well as what visitors to the installation can expect.

The inspiration for Breath of Light actually came from Preciosa’s exhibition at Salone del Mobile in 2017. Part of the installation gave people the opportunity to experience classic chandeliers illuminating a dark space only lit by candle light – just as chandeliers did historically before electricity. As Mr. Vasku explains, “Lighting the candles on a chandelier is an emotional ritual, the same as blowing out the candles’ flames – we simply reversed the idea of blowing out candles to exhaling light into a chandelier.” He adds that breathing is a poetic yet unconventional way of interacting with an object, and with other people.

Yes, visitors won’t be alone in creating a glowing crystal masterpiece. The technical aspects of the installation allow for unique animations and the merging of breaths.


“Breath of Light is a scripted behaviour, not a static animation,” Mr. Vasku said. “This means that every time one breathes into the installation the light is traveling a (slightly) different path. The dynamic light effect is never the same, unlike a repeating animation that loops over and over again. That makes it interesting to repeat one’s action, not to mention that once another person breathes into it and the breaths meet, it creates another effect thus prompting human play.”

The installation is made from a series of opal crystal bubbles that dissolve into crystal frosted, crystal clear and crystal bubbled bubbles that create an intriguing path of light as visitors contribute their breaths. Preciosa Lighting’s passion for design is intensified by our technological ingenuity which is reflected in dynamic installations such as this. Breath of Light provided our R&D team with a few new challenges.

“The biggest challenge was programming the behavioural and algorithmic logic, making it intuitive, physically comprehensible and therefore interesting and challenging for visitors to repeat the same action over and over again while creating slightly different effects every time,” Mr. Vasku said. “Another challenge was to add real time sound effects to each of the given impulses.”

Interactive lighting is not a new trend; interacting with any technology is seemingly commonplace in our lives today. Lights can be programmed to react in various ways based on people’s movement or they can be controlled via people’s smartphones. In most cases the focus is on the technology rather than the poetic or playful opportunities that the lights present, which is where Preciosa comes in.

“The danger with a dynamic lighting installation is, if it is not designed carefully, the observer quickly loses interest once he/she has seen the entire animation and identified its repetition,” Mr. Vasku said. “After that it has no more charm than a randomly repeating video sequence.”

Mr. Vasku and Mr. Klug didn’t want to see boredom on the faces of visitors to Breath of Light so they decided to push the limits when it came to adding interactivity to this installation.

“It is not only an interaction between a person and the object/chandelier but we are using the chandelier to provoke an interaction between people,” he said. “This of course is underlined by the sound effects created by the movement of light.”

“As with other concepts we’ve presented in recent years, we always try to find our own position/identity concerning this topic,” Mr. Vasku said. “On the one hand it is the interactivity between the object and via the object with other people, on the other hand it is taking advantage of an archetype action like breathing and blowing which is transformed into the movement of light; a dreamy and megalomaniac image of one physically blowing life into a crystal sculpture.”

Breath of Light
Milan Design Week
La Posteria, Giuseppe Sacchi n.5/7, Milan

17 April: 11:00-20:00
18 April: 11:00-17:30
19 April: 11:00-20:00
20 April: 11:00-22:00
21 April: 11:00-20:00
22 April: 11:00-17:00


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