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Home Uncategorized Shining a light on Utrecht

Shining a light on Utrecht

Last updated 2 years ago by Jon Wilkins

Besides getting the odd snooty letter from sports agents declining interviews on behalf of sports people they haven’t even asked, we do get some very interesting emails from people. Some want us to cover events or tell us stories about life in Utrecht and we of course welcome them with open arms. News of festivals and concerts are what you the reader are interested in, so they interest us.

Yesterday we had an email from a the PR company of a lighting company Haberdashery which took my eye. Mostly because of the eloquent style of pitch which intoxicates and intrigues the reader.

There range appears thus:

Here Comes The Sun

Award-winning design studio Haberdashery has a poetic approach to light and presents three new lighting concepts whose identity is directly derived from our biggest natural source of light:, the sun.

With Dawn to Dusk, Helio Ray and Radiance the designers have created three completely different objects with different purposes but one commonality: bringing sunshine and the memories and emotions it evokes, into peoples’ lives in the most unexpected places and ways.

Dawn to Dusk

Dawn to Dusk lamps rise and set like the sun

Dawn to Dusk lighting is a way of experiencing the eternal magic of a sunset or sunrise right in the living room. Its intricate design evokes the memory of the sun and the intense transition from deep, rich reds of the late evening through to the white light of midday. These lamps paint their surroundings in all the colours of the sun.

This product is the newest light in the Evoke collection of Haberdashery and is available as a table- and floor-standing lamp. The diffused circular light source explores a palette of warm colour hues during its transit along the vertical stand, delivering these as direct light, or as a flood of light on a wall. It is an iconic design statement in a minimal aesthetic with innovative light technology, recreating that magical moment of connection with the rising or setting sun that has fascinated humans for aeons.

The lamps are controlled by custom-designed mechanical and electrical components that are integrated into the stand and head of the lamp. Users can easily slide the lamp up and down using their hand. The only off-the-shelf component used in the design is the wall-mounted driver.

“During the development process we realised that recreating the warm hues of a sunset would look crude using existing off-the-shelf technology, so we set about developing a custom LED array, incorporating a specific red found in horticulture,” explains Haberdashery’s creative director Ben Rigby.

Helio Ray

Recycling sunlight to illuminate the shadows of a modern metropolis

Helio Ray is their concept for bringing light and sunshine back into metropolitan areas. As cities grow ever taller, parts of the ground level below become starved of light just like a rainforest floor. Helio Ray redirects sunlight from above the skyline and brings it back down the side of buildings.

Ben Rigby explains: “Sunlight has a huge effect on our physiology and wellbeing: it influences our circadian rhythms, provides vitamin D and illuminates our environment, bringing the true colour out of the surfaces, architecture and the urban grain. Our ambition was to create a focal point using sunlight in order to reinvigorate areas that had become disenfranchised from the life-affirming effects of the sunshine from way above.”

Helio Ray is a conceptual project underpinned by solid engineering knowledge and innovation. Mounted on the top of a tall building, it is fuelled by light collected from a Heliostat: a mechanised mirrored surface that automatically tracks the sun and gathers it into a concentrated beam. It then abstracts this beam of light when reflecting off a second custom-designed reflector that sends the resulting shafts of light down the side of a building, creating ‘god ray’ effects. This second reflector is comprised of a faceted surface designed to warp and distort in a controlled manner under the heat of the sunlight itself. This slow variation in surface provides a slowly evolving pattern of reflected light, whilst perfectly controlling the extremities of the overall light effect so as to only fall on specified building surfaces.

The effect comes and goes just like the real sun above, so is a true extension of the actual sun’s reach. It is visible from all surrounding buildings, providing a stunning, calming intervention in juxtaposition to the static, man-made urban grain of most cities.


A ray of sunshine captured within an object of art

Haberdashery’s collectable design object Radiance uses three variations of glass structure to explore the hues created when sunlight passes through the particles in the atmosphere at the moment the sun begins to dip below the horizon. Design studio Haberdashery channels these saturated colours across the floor and onto the viewer. Each version shows a range of tints that is both recognisable and unique; a fleeting moment frozen in raw colour.

The Radiance collectable limited-edition investigates the moment when the sun begins to dip below the horizon and how the rich, opulent colours this creates can instil a deep sense of joy in the viewer.

Rigby explains: “This fleeting transience punctuates the cyclical nature of our existence; a colourful decrescendo to the day where light becomes liquid, spilling out over us and bringing a deep, joyful connection that is common to all people.”

So you can see what is on offer and the poetic approach certainly pays off. I am intrigued by these lights and the excellent photographic samples evoke even more good impressions. No wonder when we find out that their PR company is based in Utrecht, where all great ideas come from!

Photographs courtesy of Organisation in Design


Jon Wilkins
Jon Wilkins
Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.


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