credit Erik Five Gunnerud
words Riya Patel
I was thinking about how you catch fireflies in jars,” Kristine Five Melvær says of her Light Jars, a series of small lamps in which you can showcase treasured objects. “People have interpreted them differently, putting a child’s favourite toy inside, if he is afraid of the dark, or a flower and giving it as a gift.”
Light sources are concealed within the hand-turned oak lids of the coloured glass jars, giving the objects a dim glow. Working with professional glassblowers, Oslo-based Melvær was able to make the vessels resemble old jars and bottles.
Candles and long weekend breakfasts were the inspiration for Sunday lamps, another easily recognisable form with a twist. The cylindrical glass forms have light sources at the top to echo the glow of a flame surrounded by a lip of wax. “I didn’t want to make it too obvious and gimmicky,” Melvær says. “Just to use the simple shape effectively.”
Her Ray lamps are intended for the more intimate setting of a bedroom. They comprise delicate shades, made of elastic textiles in neutral shades, pulled taut over steel frames. Melvær says this is a reference to a corset or skin over a skeleton: “I’m working with different associations for all the objects, so people connect with them in a personal way.”
Tint, a silk-screen room divider, and Bloom, another set of lamps, are two projects Melvær has been preparing for The State Of Things, an exhibition of Norwegian design for which all participants were sent a box of curiosities to derive inspiration from.
“I interpreted it in a conceptual way, looking at the objects and letters I was sent as mediators of memories,” she says. Both projects are about recreating motifs from nature. The textile screen uses light fabric that responds to breezes and movement, and the Bloom lampshades hang from their metal stands like the seed pods of plants or raindrops.
“Industrial design usually has a focus on function,” she says. “But for me communication is a really important part of an object too. That’s what I try to do as a designer in order to create a stronger bond with an object.”