In 2015 Formica Formations went global with a student competition hosted by Formica Europe. The competition saw entries from universities in France, Spain and the United Kingdom. The designs were judged by an international panel consisting of: American designer, art director and Pentagram partner Abbott Miller; the Swedish architect, designer and founder of Claesson Koivisto Rune, Eero Koivisto; and two Formica Group designers Renee Hytry Derrington, Group VP Design, and Eva Hoernisch, Design Manager Europe.
Winner: Light Nest
The students behind Light Nest have created a lighting module with the functionality to convert transitional, waiting, restless and noisy areas, where occupants can feel stifled, into a cosy space. Depending on the user’s needs, each module can be positioned on the metal structure according to light requirements.
“Simplicity paired with multi-functionality. A stunning lighting concept that offers visual and acoustic protection to help get away from the noise of today’s world – it can be a privacy panel, a protective hood, a room divider, a space creator, an acoustic element, a light source, a piece of art.” – Eva Hoernisch
“Light Nest fuses the space-defining properties of an architectural screen with the illumination and warmth of ambient lighting elements. With a sculptural integrity reminiscent of some of Pierre Chareau’s light fixtures, the piece successfully brings Formica into a dialogue with furniture, light, and space.” – Abbott Miller
“A practical hanging module featuring contemporary light sources, Light Nest is beautifully formed. Three different triangular elements allows almost endless variation for arranging spatial clusters, which not only supply light but also sound isolation. As a piece it is ideal for creating spaces for working and relaxation, as well as being a visual space divider.” – Eero Koivisto
“It is designed to not only enhance, but also create a dynamic space using a large sculptural cluster of Formica brand laminate. Well thought out, the nesting quality of this drama piece produces surprising intimacy for those that want to find a spot to read and reflect.” – Renee Hytry Derrington
2nd place: WAK
Inspired by the expression ‘wake up’, WAK is designed to bring intimate spaces and a cosy environment to the user through lighting. The design approach aims to juxtapose the traditional with the contemporary, thereby reinforcing the identity of Formica® laminate as a product that is part of our daily lives moving beyond its original association with 60s kitchens. WAK is a product line that can adapt to every space in the home.
“The colour palette is reminiscent of Formica’s iconic past, providing a lovely ‘retro’ touch. Using ‘negative space’ in the shape of a lamp shade is as simple as it is smart. It’s a real fun piece, perfect for adding a pop of colour to any home.” – Eva Hoernisch
“WAK has an exceptional clarity and sense of humour. It uses Formica laminate in a way that feels wholly consistent with its history, but in a more fundamental way it acknowledges Formica’s proximity to paper. The book form leverages the “sheet” aesthetic of Formica, celebrating its ability to veneer, but doing so in a way that playfully confounds the relationship between the surface of the book and the surface of the table on which it sits. At the centrepiece of this still-life is a lovely pun about light, shadow, and silhouette.” – Abbott Miller
“A very nice, playful and smart table light that uses the material to its best advantage. It could be industrialised immediately.” – Eero Koivisto
“A witty solution that plays with negative and positive space, the WAK tabletop lamp could easily be commercialised for the home furnishings market today.” – Renee Hytry Derrington
3rd place: Lilies
An artistic interpretation that reinvents the concept of light through sculptural dimensions. Lilies’ gingko leaves and vegetal vibes represent a return to nature, providing an ambient light that invades dark corners and vacant areas to produce a relaxed atmosphere. Each leaf is made up of a stem with a patella on the back. The modules allow reflections between themselves, the wall, floor and ceiling, according to the angles they are positioned in.
“A fragile structure that seems to grow and twine. The use of reflective metal to increase the ‘harvest of light’ is clever, one imagines the light effect to be very dynamic depending on the viewing angle while passing by. A light source offering a sophisticated illuminating effect just as much as it is a sculptural object, Lilies adds that certain sparkle to a space” – Eva Hoernisch
“Using a sophisticated geometric form vocabulary to evoke branches and leaf-like forms, Lillies generates a surprisingly organic effect from a carefully deployed series of facets and angles.” – Abbott Miller
“A simple, decorative and playful light which lends itself well to manufacturing. The three different elements with built-in LED strips creates sculptural clouds which can be varied in a very natural and growth-like way.” – Eero Koivisto
“This object d’art is designed by someone with the soul of an artist, Lilies is of museum quality. I can see the Formica DecoMetal surfaces shimmering in the wind like the leaf and branches that inspired it.” – Renee Hytry Derrington