15/10/2021 - Oplight
is Jasper Morrison
’s latest design for Flos
, a future-proof lamp, conceived to last a long time and to be thoroughly recyclable at its end-of-life. A lighting object that actually illuminates a whole room rather than a mere path marker, Oplight
represents a step forward in the development of wall lights, a family of lamps that it is difficult to innovate, for a variety of reasons.
Why are ceiling lamps complex to design? The wall lamp is often a rather under-designed objects: because it is considered merely functional but also because of the limitations that its very nature imposes. It must, for example, hide the electronic elements that compose it in a body as compact as possible. It has to tackle the issues of wall attacks, which vary from country to country. It must illuminate and not be a simple step-marker and do it without dazzling. It is, in short, a design puzzle.
To this natural complexity, Flos
brief added the sustainability issue. Flos has always focused on products designed with circularity in mind: objects that can be dismantled to facilitate the recovery and disposal of components at the end of their life. This, together with the design complexity of the applique theme, prompted the company to turn to Jasper Morrison, who had already created, in 1998, the iconic Glo-Ball
, also the result of the Super Normal philosophy (a constant effort of refining archetypes to create a “perfect normality”). With the typical sensibility of an industrial designer who excels at solving problems that have technical limits, Morrison came back to Flos with a clean and simple idea: working on a shape that is the transposition of a plate on the wall, an oval that takes up the silhouette of the Glo-Ball.
“The Oplight’s light source is a board of LEDs which are covered with a clear but ridged panel which deflects the light out at an angle away from the wall
', says Jasper Morrison
. 'The shape of the head is probably its most noticeable feature. It's like an even more flattened outline of Glo-ball. Hopefully it looks like the most obvious, definitive shape a wall light could be. I wouldn't say I have a particular approach to designing lighting, at least nothing different to the way I design anything else. I am open to opportunities, so when asked to design a wall light I start thinking about all the wall lights I've seen and which ones worked the best and what the new technology can bring to the design and what shapes would be most suitable and it starts to take form in my mind as a general concept. Then there’s a lot of work after that to draw it up in 3d and find out what shape the lighting unit can be and how to send the light out away from the wall
From Glo-Ball to Oplight
With Glo-Ball, Morrison took the Bauhaus ball lamp, the glass ball, and gave it an oval shape, like a geoid, making the shape adhere as closely as possible to the light source. He made it more compact, but he couldn’t go beyond what he did because of the size of the bulb which still had to be located inside the diffuser. With Oplight, thanks to the use of LEDs, he was able to go even further in this operation of seeking essentiality and reducing the object to a minimum.
By Glo-Ball, Oplight retains the oval silhouette of the plate with a powder-coated die-cast aluminum body, which mounts an injection-molded polycarbonate diffuser. The surface treatment of the diffuser, equipped with an internal recovery unit in injection-molded white polycarbonate, and the special design that characterizes the interior allow to control the emission by optimizing the light effect on the wall and its distribution towards the ceiling. Oplight therefore does not simply illuminate the wall but has a double light that also points to the ceiling. Its function is therefore not merely that of a walk-marker, but a real light source for the room.
The raised edge of the diffuser also intercepts a part of the light emitted and illuminates uniformly, highlighting the formal perimeter of the lamp to the viewer from below. The name Oplight explains the multiple nature of this object: which stands at the top and also illuminates at the top (up) thanks to the particular processing of the diffuser (optical).
Why Oplight is a lamp with circularity in mind
Oplight is the demonstration that it is possible to create a technologically advanced product that respects the environment.
Despite it minimal thicknesses, no glue was used to assemble the components: the parts are separable, can be replaced individually and can be recycled separately at the end of life.
The shell is made of die-cast aluminum: a light material, which lasts over time, and is perfectly recyclable. The applied color is powder, therefore without the use of solvents in the painting process: an important detail because production methods must be considered in the overall environmental impact of a product.
The LED board inside Oplight has a high efficiency: it emits a large amount of light with a low consumption, with an estimated life of over fifty thousand hours. In the event that a fault should occur, or when more efficient light sources will be available in the future, the card can be replaced without having to throw away the rest of the lamp, with a significant saving of resources.
This is possible because the LED board is not glued to the heatsink, as often happens: the replacement operation therefore does not require sophisticated equipment but can be carried out by any electrician.
The diffuser, or the transparent cover which also acts as a lens, is made of injection-molded polycarbonate. Thanks to its elasticity, it is fixed with snap-fit so that it can be disassembled and reassembled to intervene on the board, without compromising aesthetics. Obviously, in case of breakage, it is recyclable and replaceable.
Two dimensions and four finishes
Oplight is available in two versions: a larger one, ideal for large contract or residential spaces, and a smaller one, for the residential market. The four different finishes, textured white, textured metallic gray, textured anthracite and satin black, selected in collaboration with Jasper Morrison, make Oplight extremely versatile and enhance the materiality of the product
“We've chosen four finishes which fit as many types of different architectural atmospheres as possible”, says the British designer. “I like the idea that you could use the smaller Oplight in an old country cottage and the larger one in a high ceilinged apartment or house as well as in the corridor of an office. I think it will contribute well to the atmosphere of a wide range of spaces and situations. Hopefully it will prove to be Super Normal in the sense that it makes good atmosphere without being obtrusive or even noticeable”.
FLOS on ARCHIPRODUCTS