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MONDO ARC

Asaf Zakay

Issue 66 Apr / May 2012


With Israeli roots, an Australian home and a love of Fibonacci, Asaf Zakay’s glass light sculptures hope to reveal the spirit of illumination and the essence of nature.

The spirituality of light and the hard mathematics of geometry may not instantly seem connected, but in the eyes of light sculptor Asaf Zakay the two are inextricably interlinked. From his gallery studio in Byron Bay on the west coast of Australia, Zakay creates interlocking glass solids that, when illuminated, fill a room with a dance of intercutting light and shadow.

“I love to create pieces that have an existence beyond what you are looking at, and I find I can do this with my glass sculptures and lighting,” explains Zakay. “As a designer, my creations are fashioned on what is known as the golden ratio, a ratio that appeals to the human sense of beauty and balance. I aim to capture the essence of nature and allow people to see it as if for the first time.”

This approach initially developed more through pure intuition than by grand design. Zakay first began creating glass sculptures back when he was living in his native Israel. He had long worked with materials like wood and marble, using them to create geometric forms – in particular the interlocking tetrahedron shape better known to him as the Star of David. When he began working as an installer of Belgian-style stained-glass windows, his natural curiosity led him to experiment with similar techniques in his personal work.

Each piece is comprised of beveled glass pieces that act as prisms to create an impressive pattern of diffracted light. He continued to experiment, eventually building a portfolio of fifteen designs.

“Most of the time I will see a geometric shape in my mind’s eye,” Zakay says. “As all the shapes I create are based on geometry, there is a pattern, a code if you like, behind each sculpture. I start by making all the faces, then join them together. I am a bit of a perfectionist; I believe without aesthetic integrity and quality craftsmanship part of the appreciation for the artwork would be lost.”

True to his word, each piece is created by hand, with no jigs or templates used in the process. “This keeps me really focused,” he notes. “And I guess this is what keeps me in the studio, producing as well as designing.”

The transparency of the glass means soldering must be done from both inside and out, to achieve a clean finish. After completion, each piece is finished with a special wax compound to protect the glass and fittings.
Over the last six years his work has evolved, with some pieces now using dichroic glass to enhance the colourful interplay of reflection and refraction. Having previously focused purely on the effects of daylight, Zakay was asked if it would be possible to place a light source at the heart of the pendent. Even the artist himself was surpised by the results. “I couldn’t believe what I saw,” he says. “I knew you would get some geometric shadows, but I had no idea of the mesmerising effects it would produce.” And so a whole new market opened up.

In response to increasing interest in his work, Zakay is currently exploring the possibility of expanding both its physical scale and geographical scope. On his latest trip to Israel, he started to learn about metalworking and welding with a view to employing these techniques in the construction of much larger pieces. He is also planning to take his work on tour. “I feel Europe and the US are the places for me to go and exhibit next. We get a lot of orders online from this area of the world, so I would love to show my work there.”

While the majority of his work goes to private collections, Zakay is increasingly approached by corporate clients who are looking for a special piece to light their reception areas and board rooms.

“A typical client is someone that appreciates high quality craftsmanship,” he says. “It is someone that doesn’t like the mass produced look, who wants something different that you can’t get everywhere else. It is someone that resonates on all levels to the sculpture/light. For me a light is like a companion: you live with it; you build a relationship. It’s much more than a source of light to me. I think my typical client gets this.”

www.zakayglasscreations.com

 

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