Daniel Rybakken Lighting 25.03.13


In the flamboyant world of lighting design, Daniel Rybakken is a rare minimalist. There's a strict graphic quality to all the Norwegian designer's works – a studied restraint that downplays the form of the lamp to concentrate on the play of light itself.

After graduating in fine art from HDK Gothenburg in 2008, Rybakken worked on several conceptual experiments that recreated the diffused quality of natural daylight by using layers of material that concealed light sources. Counterbalance, his breakthrough product for manufacturer Luceplan, is on the market this year and is Rybakken's first industrial design. "All my previous projects are linked with the aesthetic of it – it's very two-dimensional," he says. "And I've always been passionate about mechanics, but hadn't really used them in a design before this project."

Rybakken's wall-mounted light has a circular counterweight and steel gears that allow the light source, suspended on a long metal arm, to move around with great flexibility. "Something like 60 degrees upwards and downwards and 180 sideways," he says. The design echoes the industrial precision of the FLOS 265 lamp developed by Paolo Rizzatto in 1973, but the exposed mechanics mean there's something extra satisfying about seeing it in motion.

In Milan last year, Rybakken showed two more prototypes in a show at Spazio Rossana Orlandi: Ricochet and Coherence. "Those two have some similarities to Counterbalance, but they're much more conceptual. They ask why a lamp needs to be a single object ... why can't they be two or more objects linked together by light?" Coherence responds to the challenge with a small cylindrical light source that sits as the centrepiece of a table, pointing to a much larger dome that hangs above. The dome subtly diffuses and reflects light back on to the table. Ricochet takes the idea one step further, using a small powerful light source to bounce light off several surfaces that can be angled and moved by hand.

Icon 117 Rybakken inside2

Balancing the conceptual side of his work with concrete industrial design projects such as Counterbalance is important to Rybakken. He feels many of the lessons learned from one branch of design can be applied to the other. "After doing something more concrete for Luceplan I think people understood that I'm able to do things that aren't only poetic but product-based," he says. This year he will work on furniture and crystal projects and develop another idea for Luceplan.

At Stockholm Furniture Fair this month, Rybakken has been invited to design the bar: the first time the honour has been bestowed on a Norwegian rather than a Swede. For this installation, the designer will return to his experiments creating the experience of daylight artificially.

"That theme is always with me," he says. "But I always try to explore new areas." Intended as a relief from the harsh spotlights that fill the halls of the fair, Rybakken wants the atmosphere of his bar to be more like a church or a cathedral. "There will be no light from the ceiling at all. At the end, there'll be a large curtain, 25m x 15m wide, with a 2m streak of very bright light at the bottom that illuminates the entire space."



Kalle Sanner and Daniel Rybakken



Riya Patel

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After doing something more concrete for Luceplan I think people understood that I'm able to do things that aren't only poetic but product-based

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