It was similar interests that brought Vancouver-based creatives Annika Hagen and Nicole Fox together seven years ago in friendship, and it was some of those same affections—for art, for light, for community—that gave rise to LAMP, the Lighting Architecture Movement Project. The duo set particles in motion a few years back, and then inaugurated LAMP last year in a localized format, asking architectural designers to work outside of their traditional forms, with lights. Following that 2013 exhibition, Hagen and Fox had so many interested artists and industrial designers approach them with a desire to submit their pieces that they opened up the floor and happily morphed into an international lighting design competition.
“Nicole comes from a dance background, I come from film,” says Hagen. “We wanted to put on events that were unique to Vancouver, so we wrote down a list of things we wanted to see and incorporate—LAMP stemmed from there.” Citing social media as the most influential tool for spreading the word, the two garnered over 50 submissions from 29 cities and 13 countries, all motivated by the keyword fibre to inform their design direction. A jury of 10, composed of multidisciplinary members of Vancouver’s creative community—including lighting designer Matthew McCormick, architect Gregory Henriquez, and David Nicolay of Evoke Design—culled the crop of applicants, and named Spencer Staley of Portland, Oregon, as first place winner.
Staley’s Droop light is an amoebic form that hangs softly, fed with strands of rope draped through its inner acrylic diffusion. “I’ve been doing design for a long time, lots of furniture and different accessory pieces, but this is my first light,” says Staley, who turned to a complex idea to guide his aesthetic: algorithms. “The algorithm I wrote for the Droop light tells me how long to cut each length of rope, as well as preparing other fabrication drawings, which expedites a process that would otherwise be extremely tedious and time intensive,” he explains.
As part of his winnings, Staley earns a cash prize from Vancouver design boutique Inform Interiors, mentorship from industrial designer Lukas Peet, and a project critique by the creative director of Italian lighting firm FontanaArte. “I’m fascinated with organic shapes for some reason,” adds Staley, “and when I got this concept into my head I just kept running with it.”
The same could be said for Hagen and Fox, who will continue with another competition next year. “The design world can be a little rigid, and strict, and that’s good for many reasons,” says Hagen, “but I think it’s also fun for the designers to have a little more freedom.”