For Eindhoven-based OS ∆ OOS, composed of designer-duo Oskar Peet and Sophie Mensen, Heliacal furthers an interest in translating planetary movements into light works. “FontanaArte wanted to upgrade Gio Ponti’s Pirellone floor lamp and so asked us to think in that direction”, explains Peet, adding that there are also plans to make a wall light and a table lamp. The origin of Heliacal harks back to OS ∆ OOS’s creation of Syzygy in 2011. The word comes from astronomy, referring to an alignment of three celestial bodies, such as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet. The rotational combinations of the three discs that mimic the different aspects of a syzygy culminated in three pieces: Eclipse, Occultation, and Transit. The darkening of one of the discs represents the blocking of light at nighttime. “The end result is an atmospheric lamp inspired by the sun and its surrounding celestial bodies, where the quality of the light can be adjusted”, Peet says. Peet, who is half Dutch and half Canadian, and Mensen, who is Dutch, both graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2009 and founded OS ∆ OOS two years later. The success of Syzygy kept the young studio financially afloat for a number of years. As the piece was nearly sold out, the FontanaArte commission provided the opportunity to re-explore the original idea.
Roehrs & Boetsch also commissioned OS ∆ OOS to make a cast edition of their Primary Fluorescents, which feature fluorescent tubes built around geometric structures – a triangle, a circle within a square, and a semi-circle. “The original edition used this cool marble-looking foam, which we’d always used for packaging, and formed it around the glass tube”, says Peet. “However, the foam kept changing colour because of the UV rays. So we cast Styrofoam using the lost-wax method and chose aluminium as the final material, striving to retain the original look.”
In May, OS ∆ OOS are taking part in Morphosis, a three-day exhibition at a castle in Schwanberg, eastern Austria, presenting a new sculpture called Tunnel, made from laser-cut, extruded aluminium tubes. “We’ve always had tubes lying around the studio and wanted to do something with the idea of those parts”, says Peet. The tubular concept segues from their flexible Mono-Light installation made of six lights. What are the different qualities that Peet and Mensen bring to a project? “I go nuts making drawings, usually filling pages and pages as we discuss things”, Peet replies. “With my engineering background, I ensure that the ideas we put on paper are relatively feasible in terms of construction and technique. It’s great that Sophie can ignore this and assume all things are possible, which keeps us open-minded.”
Their first such project is a new shop in Eindhoven for opticians Ace and Tate, the Dutch acetate eyewear brand, which is due to be completed in June. Once again, they have worked on the idea of transparency. As Mensen adds, “It’s quite a long space, so we had to think about people walking all the way through. We designed two glass cubes in the middle.” And a podium at the back that can be used by young designers during Dutch Design Week in October, while the steps leading up to the podium can also display products.
Our conversation is taking place a week after the Salone del Mobile. What did they enjoy about the event? “It’s interesting to see our peers working for bigger companies – Formafantasma is making pieces for Flos”, says Peet. “Slowly but surely, our generation is becoming the generation that we’d look up to.”
Morphosis is at Schloss Hollenegg for Design in Schwanberg, Austria, 5 – 8 May 2017.
Design Parade 12 is at Villa Noailles in Hyères, France, 29 June – 2 July 2017. / The exhibition runs until 24 September 2017.