For CTO Lighting’s new Modulo collection, designer Federico Peri found inspiration in a childhood memory to create a luminaire family that is contemporary and timeless, all at once.
At Milan’s biennial lighting fair, Euroluce, hundreds of exhibitors showcase multiple new designs, while independent-minded lighting manufacturers simultaneously take their launch exhibitions to the streets of Europe’s design capital as part of the Fuorisalone. Leading British lighting brand, CTO Lighting is among those looking for the sweet spot between a timeless aesthetic and one that is arresting; a design that is of-the-moment yet has long-lasting appeal. Its latest family of lights, Modulo, conceived in collaboration with the lauded young Italian designer Federico Peri, has just launched during Fuorisalone and hopes to have found that spot.
‘It is one of the most difficult things to do,’ says Peri. ‘The product should be ready for the market but be something new at the same time. Part of the process is to look at the boundary between contemporary and timeless, and if you explore that small gap between one and the other, you end up with just the right product that is ready for the market but can also be considered relevant into the future.’ Longevity, after all, is an essential part of responsible design today.
Leading British lighting brand, CTO Lighting is among those looking for the sweet spot between a timeless aesthetic and one that is arresting; a design that is of-the-moment yet has long-lasting appeal.
Modulo has all the presence of a modern classic. If pressed, Peri will tell you that inspiration came from his childhood Meccano sets, but asserts also that ideas from all quarters are infused into the design. Modulo has a simple, graphic form that feels contemporary but also facilitates the modular aspect that CTO Lighting’s brief required. CTO Lighting produces families of lights, so from the beginning, the design had to adapt to a wall and ceiling setting and be workable as a pendant light too. The slim profile is particularly original in pendant form – striking when used alone or paired, and sculptural when grouped.
Longevity comes to the project courtesy of refined materials – a shared passion for which played a hand in bringing together maker and designer. ‘I had seen Federico’s work for some of the Italian brands he works for and I thought it had a beautiful contemporary feel. But materiality was clearly important,’ says Clare Turner, co-founder of CTO Lighting whose material palette regularly features brass, bronze, blown glass, marble and alabaster.
Longevity comes to the project courtesy of refined materials – a shared passion for which played a hand in bringing together maker and designer.
For Modulo, Peri’s own fascination with materials led him to combine bronze and brass with a form of bubbled glass inspired by Pulegoso, a style of glass historically produced in Murano, Venice. ‘It’s part of my Italian heritage. I like it for the preciousness of the material, and the craftsmanship involved,’ explains Peri. ‘But also, when you switch on the light, you can see all the bubbles projected on to the wall, as a shadow.’ For Modulo the team interpreted Pulegoso in their own way, creating a uniquely textured glass using a kiln casting technique.
The playful marriage of the mundane (Meccano) and elevated materials is typical of Peri’s generation of Italian designers, who respectfully riff off the Italian masters and the rock-solid heritage of high-quality materials and exquisite craftsmanship, while bringing their own ideas and also typically fresh concerns for the environment. Peri adds to this another dimension that is increasingly part of the tool kit too – fluency in interior design. It adds a note of practicality to the equation. ‘He would see how the light can be used,’ says Turner. ‘I think having that ability gives you a very clear vision of where you want to get to when you're still working on the finer details of the project. It brings clarity.’
It’s clear that not every new illumination given a stage in Milan will stay the course, but Peri’s very modern formula sets Modulo on the best possible path.