An alien spider, an ancient geometric form propped up on Space Age legs, a mathematical tessellation: there’s a lot of charmingly odd descriptions one could throw out when talking about the Abstract wall fixture by SONNEMAN – A Way of Light. You probably have a couple of your own. But the updated midcentury-mod shape and forms of this wall-crawling illuminator are barely half of what’s going on here.
As with so much that has been produced by long-serving design stalwart Robert Sonneman and his eponymous design studio, the shapes are pleasing, striking, even artistic. This is, after all, the designer who has forwarded the idea of fixtures as functionalist art pieces over a career spanning at least six decades and earned placement for so many of his creations in museums far and wide.
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Yet what attracts here is beyond the forms of the arresting tetrahedrons that make up the Abstract line. Sonneman is acutely aware that any fixture is ultimately a vehicle for changing the look and tone of a room, and the Abstract offers a field of choices for that.
A single piece affixed on a wall offers a halo of indirect LED light cut into three by the shadows of the legs that hold up its prism-shaped reflector. That’s drama enough. But the Abstract, available in multiple sizes, is designed to be stacked, to be grouped, to take over a wall en masse, creating not just a single halo, but an entire field of ghostly indirect illumination.
Even though one of these remotely powered pieces is a Sonneman masterpiece floating on its own, an army of them creates a massive artwork that is much a creation of the owner or decorator as it is that of the designer. It’s this modularity, this potential for play, this conversation between the producer and the user that makes the Abstract something so much more than an alien spider climbing the walls.
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