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Neon Daylight: Sabine Marcelis

Resin, glass, neon lighting and bright colors define the works of designer Sabine Marcelis which range from architectural scale to small lighting

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In the white tiled entrance of an abandoned hospital, neon lights of yellow, orange and white hues seem to fall from the ceiling. This is the striking installation of designer Sabine Marcelis which welcomes visitors into the slightly unusual space of the former Sint Maarten Hospital at the Biennale Interieur Kortrijk 2018.

Sabine tells TLmag that when she was asked by the Biennale to design how people would enter the building she knew it would have to be site-specific, celebrating the architecture of the former hospital space. “I went to the space and considered how people would move through it and because it is a very big space, I knew it would have to be quite an impressive and large thing, anything else would just look sad and small.” Given the darkness of the space and Marcelis’ frequent use of glass and neons in her work, a lighting installation seemed the perfect way to greet and guide visitors. Intrigued by a number of circular holes in the ceiling which bring in daylight, Marcelis decided to exaggerate these architectural components by physically extending them, creating tunnels of light.

Complementing the lights will be sofas from the Italian furniture company La Cividina with whom Marcelis collaborated. The curvy, bendy sofas which can be arranged to a user’s needs will offer a place for people to sit, relax or observe passers-by as well as gently indicating paths through the space.

The nuanced observations about the architecture, spatial design, interior opportunities and the production of lighting sums up Sabine Marcelis’ practice. “I really like variety,” says the New Zealand raised, Rotterdam based designer who makes anything from small lights to architectural scale installations. This is possible due to her approach to design which starts from materials, machines and experimentation which can then be applied to different scales.

Primarily working with resin and glass Marcelis is fascinated by production processes that allow her to take a material from one state and manipulate it into different states. With both glass and resin, there is the possibility to change them in drastic ways. “They can be completely transparent or completely opaque, matt, shiny, reflective and everything in between.” Not to mention cast and molded into many forms.

A few examples of the designers versatility are seen in the Capsule Collection for Burberry in which layers of semi-transparent resin were cast in such a way as to reproduce their iconic plaid in a 3D form; the Dawn Lights XL which recently showed at the Brussels Art Weekend in the house of Alexis Ryngaert of Victor Hunt Gallery; and the Equals Easy Chair which cleverly combines a metal seating structure with a heavy block of resin to suspend the seat in a playful, sculptural piece of furniture.

Having recently expanded her workshop and studio and welcomed some architects onto her team to help with upcoming interior projects, Marcelis is very aware of her desire to remain a maker.

“It’s a sad situation when you become just the manager of projects rather than participating in them. I am learning how to say no to projects so I can be really hands-on” she reflects of her growing success as an international designer.

Sabine Marcelis’ installation will be on display in the entrance to the Sint Maarten Hospital at the Biennale Interieur Kortrijk until October 22

Sabine Marclelis
Dawn Light XL. Photography by Jeroen Verrecht
Sabine Marcelis
Detail of Burberry Installation at Opening Ceremony. © Floor Knaapen
Sabine Marcelis
Equals Easy Chair. © Pim Top
Sabine Marcelis
Sabine Marcelis © LEE_WEI_SWEE
Sabine Macelis
Dawn Light XL. Photography by Jeroen Verrecht
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