Studio Conran: Designers on the look out..reports from Light & Building and Milan fairs

Earlier this month, Studio Conran dodged the ash clouds to visit the Light+ Building trade fair in Frankfurt. Shannon Smith, a Senior Product Designer reports:

L+B is a biennial event, covering a diverse cross-section of the lighting, electrical engineering and building automation industries.We continue to work with Yamagiwa in Japan and are currently working on a range of beautiful lighting control panels for a Finnish company so, thought it an ideal opportunity to lace up the sensible shoes and wander through eleven halls of the imposing Messe Frankfurt. With over 2000 exhibitors, there were plenty of inspiring innovations worth mentioning, however as we reflected wearily on the flight home, there were a couple of cleverly beautiful design solutions that stuck clearly in our minds.


Once we stopped gaping at the eye-catching exhibition stand complete with waterfall, rainforest and a battalion of iPads, we realised that the comparatively unassuming design of the Occhio Piu lighting system was actually rather good. Every interchangeable component in the modular spotlight assembly was laid bare for public scrutiny, expressing not just a great functional versatility, but incredible aesthetic attention to detail. Although Occhio Piu was cleverly designed to suit various light sources, it was clear that Occhio, along with vast the majority of exhibitors at L+B, viewed high performance, energy efficient LEDs as the way forward.


A dazzling highlight of the Luceplan stand, and indeed the entire L+B show was the Hope pendant light, designed by Francisco Gomez Paz and Paolo Rizzato. Hope is a lightweight, refreshingly contemporary take on the traditional chandelier, constructed from a series of thin, polycarbonate ‘fresnel leaves’. Each leaf has a highly polished outer surface, and a textured inner surface of concentric micro-prisms that reflect and refract light much like crystal. Assembly is dead simple, with each ‘stem’ snapping easily into a central steel armature without the need for tools.

Image courtesy of, and

More from Milan

Carlos Queiros, another Senior Product Designer here at Studio Conran was also out and about at the Milan Design Fair last week and was Lorraine’s travelling companion on that long overland journey home.

You’ve heard the story but we couldn’t resist these pictures:

“An extra night in Milan usually sounds great…but not at the prices these hotels were charging.

We needed to find a way out of the city. Maximus, the Italian Taxi driver was our chosen chauffeur. After calling his wife of 25 years to tell her he was going to be ‘late for dinner’, we set off stopping off first for some much needed sugar treats….next stop Nice”

Maximus: (shame he doesn't look more like Russell Crowe)

...still working...honest

Still working...honest...

...Paris Darling

Lorraine keeping stylish throughout!

Carlos is the Senior Designer on our exciting and ongoing collaboration with cult German coffee and retail brand Tchibo – our new range is due to launch on the 12th May – more nearer the time!

Here’s some stuff at the fair he loved:

“Milan was full of thought provoking products; the bit that I always most enjoy is the attention to detail from some of the Italian big furniture manufactures.

As a fellow designer it’s always interesting to meet other designers at Milan to discuss their designs. On this occasion the designer who stood out was Thomas Heatherwick.

He explained and demonstrated his fun new chair SPUN, which he’s designed for Magis…

Thomas Heatherwick's SPUN Chair designed for Magis

The Concrete table by Arflex also really stood out – it’s great that it’s made from concrete – no wastage.”

More about Carlos and Tchibo next week.

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Filed under Light & Building Fair 2010, STUDIO CONRAN

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