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Interview. Behind the Ad-astra Lamp with Italian Designer Marco Lavit for Living Divani

Interview. Behind the Ad-astra Lamp with Italian Designer Marco Lavit for Living Divani
Stand at Salone del Mobile 2024. Courtesy of Living Divani.

During Salone del Mobile, we sat down with designer Marco Lavit at the stand for Living Divani where his new Ad-astra Lamp was exhibited. 

We toured the new products by Living Divani at their stand in Salone del Mobile last month and chatted with Italian designer Marco Lavit to discuss his design journey and the inspiration behind his latest creation, the Ad-astra Lamp.

Lavit, whose architectural firm in Paris specializes in prefab wooden dwellings and houses, shared his perspective on the intersection of architecture and design. He emphasized the importance of the design process, highlighting the intellectual challenge and pleasure it brings, rather than merely focusing on commercial viability. Lavit’s approach to design prioritizes the exploration of different materials and aesthetics, evident in his diverse portfolio ranging from furniture to architectural projects.

“It’s hard to defend producing an object only for pleasure when we plan to produce it every three months, for example, making discussions about other aspects like recycling materials and sustainability useless,” Marco Lavit explained. “We need to find a balance.”

The discussion then turned to his collaboration with Living Divani, a company founded in 1969 by Renata Pozzoli and Luigi Bestetti, which is renowned for its luxury upholstery and impeccable craftsmanship. With Piero Lissoni as art director since 1988, the company has embraced a style characterized by silent elegance. Carola Bestetti, the second generation, infuses the company with feminine sensitivity. Offering indoor and outdoor furniture, Living Divani is celebrated globally for quality and innovation. With a distribution network spanning 450 high-end points of sale and a flagship Milanese outpost designed by Lissoni, Living Divani remains a leader in the design world.

Regarding the Ad-astra Lamp, Lavit revealed that the lamp’s design aims to evoke a sense of movement through space, symbolized by a sphere suspended on a thin stick. The name “Ad-astra,” meaning “movement to the stars” in Latin, captures the essence of the design, portraying a journey through the cosmos.

Ad-astra: Movement To the Stars

Marking the fourth collaboration Lavit has done with Living Divani, these lamps fit into the brand’s new collection which emphasizes intertwining original geometries and blending beautifully with existing pieces. Ad-astra harnesses the energy coursing through its wires, channeling it into a radiant sphere that illuminates when the sun retreats. Its supporting structure, resembling a delicate stem, creates an illusion of weightlessness, inviting viewers to perceive it as a transient celestial spectacle.

What sets the Ad-astra Lamp apart is its meticulous design details. Lavit explained how the glass sphere can be effortlessly removed and rotated on its base, allowing for a customizable and interactive experience. This feature reflects his background in collectible design, where the emphasis lies on craftsmanship and tactile exploration.

“We started with a simple idea. The sphere is something that you can easily find in the lighting universe. But we wanted to give the impression that a stick was passing through the mass of light. The sphere becomes a density and materiality, and the stick is used to transfer it. Also, you can imagine the stick passing through the light as though it’s telling a story of how you can use a stick to pluck out a spherical light floating in the universe and bring it into your home.”

The functional aspects of the Ad-astra Lamp include its illumination capabilities and adjustability. Marco Lavit mentions that the lamp’s design allows for a soft and gentle light, which creates a cozy ambiance in any space. The lamp’s brightness can be controlled, allowing users to adjust the intensity of the light to suit their preferences, and its glass sphere can be removed and rotated on its base, adding an interactive element to its functionality. 

Marco Lavit vividly recalls his initial meeting with Karola Bestetti, the CEO of Living Divani, which laid the foundation for their fruitful collaboration. Four years ago, during their first encounter, Lavit presented Bestetti with a prototype of the iconic Lenny armchair, which captivated her attention. In a serendipitous moment, he also showcased a prototype of the Ad-astra Lamp, despite knowing that Living Divani did not specialize in lighting at the time. Bestetti’s enthusiastic response to the lamp’s design planted the seeds for a future collaboration, demonstrating her openness to innovation and willingness to explore new avenues within the realm of design.

Their collaboration blossomed over the years, marked by a shared commitment to quality craftsmanship and design integrity. Lavit’s approach to presenting fully realized prototypes to Living Divani allowed for a seamless integration of his designs into the brand’s portfolio. This collaborative process fostered a dynamic exchange of ideas, where both parties worked together to optimize production methods while preserving the essence of Lavit’s original vision. Through their collaboration, Lavit and Bestetti have not only brought innovative designs to life but have also forged a lasting partnership grounded in mutual respect and creative synergy.

Beyond Lighting: Broader Architectural Projects

The connection between Marco Lavit’s lamp design and his architectural work lies in their shared principles of minimalist aesthetics, thoughtful functionality, and a harmonious relationship with nature. Lavit’s architectural projects, which include prefab wooden dwellings, cabins, and treehouses, are characterized by their integration with natural landscapes and a focus on sustainable design practices. Similarly, the Ad-astra Lamp embodies these principles by featuring a minimalist design that prioritizes simplicity and elegance.

Both Lavit’s architectural designs and the Ad-astra lamp strive to create immersive experiences for users. Lavit’s architectural projects often aim to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing inhabitants to connect with nature seamlessly. Likewise, the Ad-astra Lamp’s design, with its soft and gentle illumination, seeks to evoke a sense of tranquility and serenity, inviting users to immerse themselves in its ambient glow.

“What I like about the tiny house is that you deal with full nature. We’ve done some projects like tree houses, transverse by a tree, which is a similar dynamic to the sphere. We’ve also done floating houses on a lake, and some underground cabins as well that face the lake, but are under the ground. Of course, we’ve done some ‘normal’ prefab cabins and we’ve just finished the first prefab wooden pavilion in the center of Paris.”

“We’re working on a project of tree houses in the mountain in Biela, which is not far from Torino in the north, and we’re working on an ecolodge hotel, tree houses.”

Lavit’s diverse portfolio of architectural projects, ranging from tiny houses to prefab pavilions, reflects his versatility and willingness to explore different design contexts. Similarly, the Ad-astra Lamp’s adaptability and customizable features allow it to complement a variety of interior settings, from contemporary urban dwellings to rustic cabins in the wilderness.

The connection between Lavit’s lamp design and his architectural work lies in their shared ethos of blending form and function, creating spaces and objects that resonate with users on a deeper level while respecting the environment and embracing simplicity.

Screenshot of the designer’s website.
Screenshot of the designer’s website.
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