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More than 100 years of lighting design gets illuminated in this sweeping exhibition, which becomes the first large-scale show in the U.S. to examine lighting as a transformative force in daily life and major design movements. “Lighting is a combination of romantic escapism and decadent aestheticism on the one hand, and reformist zeal with a serious attempt at finding suitable form for the industrial product on the other,” explains the scholar Bernd Dicke, who notes the distinction “between the cult of light and the art of lighting.” Illustrating this dichotomy are rare and limited-production examples by designers such as Studio Drift, Verner Panton, and Gaetano Pesce that appear in sections devoted to typologies, bulbs, and the manipulation of lighting effects.
DRIFT, Flylight (Basel), 2015. Image courtesy DRIFT