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Friday, March 20, 2009

Foggy Cloud

In New York, we always rely on floor lamps to light the space of our apartment for two main reasons: the ceiling height is low (I can touch it if I stretch) and no labor cost to install (plug and play); the Toio floor lamp by Achille Castiglioni remains my favorite. In contrast, the apartment in Taipei has relatively high ceiling and each rooms comes with a mounting bracket for a single ceiling lamp and wires connected to a wall switch. Given the setup, I decide to go with the flow and use some ceiling mounted lamps.

For our dining area I am using the Cloud lamp designed by Frank O. Gehry in 2005 for Belux. The Cloud is a voluminous and paper-like shade with a steel bracket for the light bulb inside. The shape of the lamp shade appears irregular and sculptural but is actually produced by modular folded sheets buttoned together. The number of sheets determine the size of the lamp which comes in four varieties: 5 (#30), 7 (#32), 10 (#34), and 14 (#36) sheets. The modular sheets also allow for some customization in size. The material of the sheets is a flame-resistant polyester membrane that is very durable and tear-free. Therefore, while each lamp has the same structure and predetermined shape, the user can still alter the shape of the lamp by bulging it out or pressing it in.

Instead of the typical setup of one lamp per room, I decide to make things a bit more interesting by having three. This actually requires a bit more work because the ceiling bracket is set up to only take one lamp. To keep things simple and cheap, a 180mm x 500mm stainless sheet panel is made to serve as a cover and mounting plate for the three lamps. I have one Cloud #30 and two Cloud #32.

The lamps are hung in a triangular formation in plan and at various heights. They are very light and are only supported by the wires. Cloud #30 is placed in the middle and hung closest to the dining table. Below are two views of the lamps as installed.

Note: Gehry is sometime known as "Foggy", a play on his initials F.O.G. The O. is for Owen.

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