Light reflections with Marco Zanuso Jr.

In this collection, the lamps take on the character of their surroundings, and demonstrate the multi-functionality of a good lamp. The designer and architect Marco Zanuso Jr., created a lamp that emits its own light just as it seeks to reflect the light of the outdoors.

“Understanding the beauty of darkness is a luxury and requires care to use it properly.”


MHow was the process of conceptualization of the Babila?

M.ZFor a few years now, our studio has been developing integrated architectural projects, in which we study all the various internal and ex- ternal components, including light, to which we always pay great attention. This is how the Babila was born, as an “object of light” for the internal and external areas of the building in Milan where we currently have the studio. And now Marset is helping me to develop it into a series production.

MWhat was your intention in creating an object that works as much as a lamp as a mirror?

M.ZThe initial idea was to create an object that produces a pleasant indirect light that can also reflect the changing sunlight during the day, the passage of clouds, and nature, and, at the same time, emit artificial light when natural light is gone.

MYou once mentioned that each design is part of a process of discovery. What discovery came out from Babila?

M.ZI think the creation of a quality design must always contain an invention or an improvement. The use of the curved mirror of the Babila creates a very special light effect, which highlights the materials and the architecture where it is installed, with different installation and integra- tion possibilities to accommodate the colors of different architectural situations.

MWhat was the transition to mass production like, from producing an object that was initially handmade?

M.ZIn essence, the project is the same; there are no substantial changes. What does change is the technology, by radically modifying the light source with the use of LED, which did not exist at that time.

MWhat do you find interesting in outdoor lighting?

M.ZThe most interesting thing about outdoor lighting is the interplay between artificial and natural light. Outdoor light should always be combined with natural light, this mix is very im- portant, and often is not considered enough. It’s a luxury to understand the beauty of darkness, and it requires care and consideration to make proper use of it.

MIn the search to improve the relationship between people and their environment, are you looking to create this same relationship with the objects you design?

M.ZI am convinced that the quality of both indoor and outdoor environments greatly affects people’s quality of life, whether they are at home, at a school, at public park, etc. Therefore, we must try to se- duce and persuade the user with these spaces, based on a clear intellectual honesty in design.