Mimesi is actually a project that began very far away. In 1995 Artemide, a leader in the field of residential and professional lighting, opened its Innovation Center at Pregnana Milanese, launching a pioneering path of research whose philosophy was effectively summed up in the phrase The Human Light. This was a sort of Copernican revolution: the proverbial, classic balance of form, innovation, function and efficiency that guaranteed the success of a well designed lighting fixture was no longer sufficient to respond to the challenges of the future. From the lighting of space it was necessary to concentrate on man and wellbeing.
So Carlotta de Bevilacqua, with her taste for interdisciplinary experimentation, formed a work group with the engineer Fabio Zanola, head of the brand’s research and innovation division, to conduct scientific studies that would lead to new concepts aimed at making light serve human beings and their spaces of life and work, their needs and desires, forging new technological visions and design solutions. The results, starting in 2000, were the lamps of the Metamorfosi line, which through the use of RGB technology are capable of offering beneficial lighting atmospheres. Later, in 2004, the A.L.S.O. project was presented, creating multiple performance lighting in which color technologies were joined by sounds and filtering of the air. In 2006 the introduction of My White Light marked the third phase of this fascinating evolution, reflecting research on modulation of the intensity and temperature of white light.
Then, in 2008, Carlotta de Bevilacqua presented her Short Manifesto on Good Light, outlining the principles of a new vision: “Starting with the Human Light concept”, she wrote, “lighting design opens up to the world of which man is a part. Light becomes a conscious factor in the fate of the natural, social and civil environment: it is transformed into an act of awareness. The design vision is regenerated, guided by the concept of Responsible Light”. From light for human beings to responsible light, the focus of the experimentation shifts toward the idea of environmental quality, which becomes “the unit of measure of the perceptive, expressive and emotional experience of the project”. She herself set the example, daring to work with ‘formal silence’ as a way of demonstrating that the performance, beauty and quality of light can be increased while reducing the environmental impact of lighting fixtures.
“An awareness”, she is convinced, “that translates into a creative, responsible design evolution”. Guided by ideas like dematerialization and energy savings, she has developed the Altrove concept: “A surface of one square meter where the light flows on transparent wires, while a mirror-finish reflector materializes a controlled volumetric luminous effect. A cubic meter of light in which there is infinite reflection, with free modulation of over a million chromatic effects. Space is no longer just one space, it becomes many or simply other, an illusory perception of reality that leads to a new place, an elsewhere (altrove)”. The fixture, a frame around a virtual space, is offered a wall version and a hanging version. This year Carlotta de Bevilacqua has decided to go beyond elsewhere, to transfer the immaterial nature of light into an abstract body that dissolves and disguises itself in space, converting the design score into a script in its own right.
“The writing”, she says, “is the sign that remains engraved on the skin of the light”. And she adds: “While Altrove made it possible to look beyond space, Mimesi lets us know the space in which we are immersed. Because writing comes, first of all, from light. In fact, it contributes to create it”. Visual inscription triggers the game that stimulates luminous perception, translating it into a new spatial experience. Mimesi is a floor lamp with LEDs whose exemplary geometric clarity reflects a world in which design is driven by ethical principles, technology meets sustainability, function is a generator of emotion and wellbeing, while consuming less energy. This luminous parallelepiped, with a square section, has a height of 180 cm. The base and top are in polished recycled aluminium.
The diffuser in engraved transparent methacrylate, whose mineral texture generates an evocative graphic and optical effect, is invaded by white light projected by the LED source mounted on the upper support and aimed downward. The light is reflected by the mirror surface applied to the lower extremity of the column. A second spot set into the top of the fixture, with high-power LEDs, sends light upward, creating the sensation of a suspended luminous body. A built-in device with a touch control makes it possible to control the two sources separately, adjusting their intensity. “I like to think of Mimesi”, Carlotta de Bevilacqua concludes, “as a star rather than a sun, because – to paraphrase the words of the philosopher Jacques Derrida – its truth, namely its light source, remains concealed in the invisible”.
Carlotta de Beveliacqua, new light paradigms
Mimesi ushers in a ‘transparent’, almost dematerialized way of looking at light. Light in a suspended dimension of time and space, like an idea of light. Or light the writing that comes before it and gives it legitimacy, because “in the beginning was the word”…
An act of responsibility toward the planet and the future: with the Mimesi project developed for Artemide the architect and designer Carlotta de Bevilacqua experiments with ‘luminous writing’ for a new vision.