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Christian Wassmann: Stratified Reflection

Feb 12, 2017

TLmag spoke to Christian Wassmann about the Dodecahedron chandelier’s ethereal qualities, on show at Spazio Nobile until February 19.

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Founding his New York practice in 2006, Swiss-born architect Christian Wassmann has made a name for himself within various sectors of the art and design world. Having trained with famed master Steven Holl and leading avant garde theatre director Robert Wilson, the architect has established a formal yet conceptual vocabulary on his own. Drawing in part from Modernist principles, Wassmann’s designs transcend mathematic reasoning, celestial influence, logical experimentation, ingrained meaning and elements of surprise. He has developed everything from Chelsea galleries to art fair interiors and Miami Beach villas, but also furniture and lighting schemes. Designed as a part of the Platonic Objects series, Wassmann’s Dodecahedron lamp for Spazio Nobile explores the potential of reflection and optical amplification by means of geometry. TLmag spoke to Wassmann about the Dodecahedron’s ethereal qualities.

TLmag: What is your affinity for silver as both a visual and material composite?
Christian Wassmann: I like what reflective surfaces can achieve. As both a flat material and suggestion of infinite virtual space, glass mirrors have often allowed me to enlarge spaces and create new perspectives. In one of my first commissions, East Village radio, I covered the acoustically-viable slanted walls in glass. Passersby don’t necessarily just see themselves but also the city behind them. In most of my designs, I let materials express their own properties. A strong composite, metal often has a silver appearance that changes over time when buffed and sanded. I recently acquired an antique Airstream mobile home for which I’ve polishing its exterior to reflect natural settings.

Your Dodecahedron design features a silver finish. What visual, physical, or metaphoric treatment does this effect allow you to express?
The Dodecahedron is primarily a chandelier but it’s also an optical instrument that turns outdoor views upside-down. By adding a chrome cup to the light socket, the lamp now allows people to find their own reflection and that of their surrounding space.

How did your choice of material allow you adopt an iridescent, reflective, or luminous effect within your design?
The clear polyurethane resin I used is similar to glass but it doesn’t require the extreme heat that comes with the latter and that would make my 12-step casting process impossible. Each pentagram is formed out of a lens that magnifies the central incandescent clear lightbulb. In this way, the Dodecahedron is also an homage to the near-extinct Edison invention. Each lens projects a shape onto the walls, ceiling and floors of a given space. When sunlight passes through the sphere, light fractures into prismatic colour, casting rainbows in all directions.

Season III – Silver Edition, design & Silvano Magnone, handmade photography, Spazio Nobile, Brussels (BE), 24.11.2016-19.2.2017, www.spazionobile.com

Christian Wassmann. Photo: Marcelo Krasilcic
Christian Wassmann. Photo: Marcelo Krasilcic
Installation view of Silver Edition exhibition at Spazio Nobile. Photo: Jörg Bräuer
Installation view of Silver Edition exhibition at Spazio Nobile. Photo: Jörg Bräuer
Installation view of Silver Edition exhibition at Spazio Nobile. Photo: Jörg Bräuer
(c) Jean François Jaissaud, Luxproductions for Spazio Nobile /TLmag
(c) Jean François Jaissaud, Luxproductions for Spazio Nobile /TLmag

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