Ray: a marble light fitting, made out of a seamless marble volume and a smart connection.
Ray is one the earliest lights we have designed and made, highlighting the transparency of marble.
It consists of a long and thin, seamlessly carved marble volume, 3 LED strips, 2 hanging wires and a ceiling metal box containing the transformer. The latter takes the ... AC current into low voltage, which then powers the LED strips and makes the marble translucent. Transfer of low voltage is made via the steel hanging wires (one positive, one negative, so a circuit is closed), which serve a double purpose: electrical and mechanical, as a suspension system from the ceiling. This way no electric cables are needed, and the thin hanging wires give a floating essence of lightness in marble.
The production stages are: sourcing the material, squaring material in desired dimensions, carving the marble volume via CNC, hand-finishing the marble surface for maximum luminosity and texture. Then the marble is taken to the electrics workshop for the assembly of LED, transformer, wires and final tes
marble light, sustainable at heart, smart design, well-being, local production, craftsmanship, seamless aesthetic, a future for the past, inclusive design, meditative experience
- Does your design take social and cultural challenges and human wellbeing into consideration?
At the core of our design sit social and cultural challenges as well as well-being matters, that relate both to the consumer and the people involved in the production of Ray marble pendant.
To give a little bit of background, marble crafting goes way back in history and today it survives only in very few places around the globe, one of which is Greece, especially in the island of Tinos. This is the home of the School of Marble Sculpting, training some of the most prominent sculptors, equipped with a very arduous and rare skill. For this reason, Tinian marble craftmanship was listed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage in 2012.
As a result of the downturn of the last 12 years, when the economic crisis hit Greece, a lot of sculptors had to switch to other professions. At the same time, with construction activity hitting its lowest level in decades, the marble manufacturing facilities in Athens were almost extinct.
With this design, we wish to contribute (even at a small scale so far), to strengthening the locale marble manufacturing industry and more importantly to sustaining a precious skill for the future generations, by having marble volumes CNC’ed at a medium sized marble facility and then finished by the hand of trained sculptors.
From the perspective of the consumer, Ray is a light fitting of high design value, which aims to enhance the experience of the space it is surrounded by. It is made of 100% natural stone, which has
Additionally, all electronics and accessories used for its assembly have a European Certification (CE), which verify the high quality of their manufacture and their long lifespan.
More importantly, in its design, Ray is not conceived as an isolated object but one that interacts with its environment and user. The minimal symmetry of the design, the airy essence of its oscillation when hung and the transformation of a rigid material into a transparent form when lit, offers almost a meditative experience to the user.
- Does your design support sustainable production, embodying circular or regenerative design practices?
Ray marble pendant is inherently sustainably produced, considering all three piers of social, environmental and economic responsibility. The social aspect is already discussed in the previous question. The environmental & economic sustainability of Ray is reflected both by the material itself and the production process, as explained here.
In particular, the material is sourced from the adjacent mountain of Dionysos in Athens, Greece, only 22Km away from the CNC manufacturing facility. The type of marble sourced at Dionysos is not just of superior quality internationally (compares to Carrara quality) , but also is abundant, with a vast availability for millenia to come. Before CNC'ed, the particular marble volumes used for Ray have a long and thin shape, which results from marble offcuts by bigger marble volumes. These long and thin marble volumes (in greek marble jargon: ksofaria) were historically used for steps in the entrances of traditional houses. As the use of seamless volumes of marble is no longer appropriate for steps, these long and thin volumes become almost redundant and many manufacturing facilities consider them as waste. So Ray is made out of marble volumes that would often be considered as waste.
From a manufacturing perspective, the marble volume is CNC'ed so that a seamless volume with no joints (but only some mechanical for the electrics) is formed. In this process, marble liquid mud is produced. Once this mud is dried, it turns into a very fine marble dust, which is then used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and glue production industry. Effectively in the marble production of Ray, almost zero waste is achieved.
Considering the positivite impact on the continuation of a craftsman's skill, together with the low environmental impact and the economic efficiency in its production, Ray is a sustainable product from its root.
- Does your design use principles of distribution and open source?
As this is about a physical product design, the principles of open source are not as directly relevant as to digital products and services.
Nevertheless, our design is available (physically and digitally) to design collaborators (designers, architects, interior designers) and potential clients, so it can be adapted to their specific needs and aesthetics.
In particular, the marble volume can be customised to the desired length, from 25cm to 1.2m. Similarly, the drop length of the hanging wires is adjustable to suit different ceiling heights. Even more, the diverse nature of the design and its adaptability has been manifested in a particular project, where the lamp was converted into a wall-light (see sketch attached) as the architect intended. Finally, Ray marble pendant has been installed as a part of a chandelier, together with floating marble birds (Rossana Orlandi, Salone del Mobile 2017).
- Does your design promote awareness of responsible design and consumption?
Through workshops with young designers and trainee sculptors, we communicate how this particular design can be made in a socially and environmentally conscious manner, explaining all the points made above. We try to encourage the audience to challenge us on how we can improve our making process without compromising any of these responsibility standards.
Equally, it is very important for us to ensure that the user of the light fitting understands and extends our sustainability values too. To ensure this, every Ray marble pendant sold, is accompanied with a Certificate, which gives background not just about the marble quality, but the craftsmanship and design involved. The low energy consumption of the LED light fitting and the longevity of marble (in terms of origin) is highlighted, so that the consumer is encouraged to manage it just as consciously, during and after Ray's lifespan.
Finally, Ray has been one of our protagonist designs in all marketing and communication strategies. Its sustainable way of production is explained in all material, from social media posts to international design fairs.
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