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Bec Brittain Studios' Aries Collection

Constellation-like light systems with prisms for punctuation

by David Graver
on 03 May 2017

With her acclaimed SHY Light, designer Bec Brittain proposed a modular system that could be arranged to accommodate a room's needs. With SHY, thin LED tubes cast light outward in connected stretches. The result was a fixture that could illuminate a room. Today, Brittain reveals a new type of minimal, structural lighting system, known as the Aries collection, and its intent is quite different. Once again, linked components can be grouped and shifted. But these zig-zagging polyhedrons are punctuated by way of focused lights at each vertex. In various sizes and materials—oil-rubbed bronze, pewter or satin-finished nickel—the Aries pieces do call to mind constellations. Each focal point of light, however, is manipulated by a prism or pressed glass lenses to great effect.

"The initial inspiration and where we ended up are far from each other," Brittain shares with CH. While attending Olafur Eliasson's ballet, "Tree of Codes," Brittain fixated on the dancers' attire: all-black outfits with little LEDs attached. Inspired, she asked herself, "How do we [design a fixture and] put the focus on the lights and essentially make these constellations?" Brittain says that halfway into the project, she acknowledged what she was actually doing. She explains, "I was making a minimal structure. I needed it to be beautiful but not let that get in the way of the bright points of light. They would be the star of the whole thing. The rest would be the support player."

The shifting, dynamic nature of each lamp clearly increases their functional value. "This extends from the way I work," she says, "where I make a system more than one particular thing. This is fun for me. There are set models you can purchase. It's like an adult erector set." Brittain attributes this design to her dislike of definitive decision making and her love of options. She admits that there's quite the challenge in delivering a light fixture that gives options to the consumer while maintaining sleek minimalism.

"These are small but substantial bright points of light," she continues. "This is a system that I have not seen anyone do yet—with the branching. I can make closed polygon shapes but, also, we can do everything in between." She says that there's still so much to finalize, however, but "it will be a really fun thing to play with."

As for the eye-catching prisms, they were a happy accident. "I had this plan to use them a while ago," she continues, "but we were having trouble making it work. So, I've had a bevy of prisms sitting on my desk for three years now, along with other ideas that I'll get to." When imagining the Aries collection, she felt everything connect. "This was one of those moments where I said, 'Let's figure it out.' With the bright points of light, there are lots of things you can do: diffuse it or defract it." Thus, the prisms found a home here. "Things on your desk are there for a reason," she concludes. In this instance, they completed a new idea.

Images courtesy of Bec Brittain

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