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Open Box

Issue 43 Jun / Jul 2008

David reviews Open Box, part of Fagerhult's Art of Light range.

Suspended up and down linear fluorescent office luminaires with mirror optics are nothing new so it is surprising how fresh the design of the Fagerhult Open Box seems to be.Winner of the best of the best in the German Red Dot design competition in 2007, Open Box is one of a series of distinctive and rather quirky luminaires - including the three-lamp Orosso suspended luminaire – that have been designed by independent Swedish designers forming the Art of Light range.

This seems to be one element of a strategy to create a higher design profile for Fagerhult, which has traditionally produced well-engineered but staid products.

Fagerhult, based in southern Sweden, was started in 1945 by Bertil Svensson and now aims to be third in the league table of European lighting groups. It is on a growth path via acquisitions of a number of European lighting companies including Whitecroft in the UK.
While the main trend in the industry over recent years for suspended office lights is towards ultra slim micro prismatic and wave guide designs, the Open Box goes in the opposite direction by making the luminaire deliberately tall and separating the two lamp enclosures with an open space in between.

Light from perforations in the lower lamp enclosure allows a pattern of light to fall on the back of the upward lamp enclosure creating an attractive dim glow which contrasts with the high levels of light projected onto the ceiling. This effect is subtle and intriguing as the eye tries to link and understand this inner glow with the ceiling brightness.

Open Box is designed by Casper Asmussen, Gustav Nord and Filip Sauer, designers at Propeller Design AB based in Stockholm. This multidisciplinary design company has been involved with the development of a wide variety of highly technical non-lighting products and has brought some of the attention to detail common in high tech professional equipment to the design of Open Box. Apparently their vision was to question traditional luminaire design and to bring some highly original thinking to the new product development process. “We wanted to create an impression of air and lightness. A pendant luminaire can easily be perceived as enclosed and heavy - as a box suspended from the ceiling,” said Gustav Nord.

When viewed from the end, the Open Box in fact appears quite heavy and perhaps overly-large but the product has been designed primarily to be viewed from the side and from this view it does appear to be somewhat ethereal and well proportioned.

Open Box is available in two lengths – 1200 mm and 1500 mm and two colour combinations, black and white and grey and white. There are two louvre options – a semi-specular type for general office use to avoid glare and a less efficient, grey painted, type for use in individual offices that creates a softer lighting effect.

The build quality is very high and the detailing of the junctions between the extruded aluminum body and the die cast end caps is well executed.
Open Box is one of those products that seems both obvious and unusual. It uses traditional materials and lighting techniques but in a novel configuration.

It will certainly add to Fagerhult’s reputation as a potential design leader and we eagerly await the next installment of the Art of Light.


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