These lighting designers took home the first place title for their category in the competition’s fifth year.

We announced the list of uber-talented LAMP competition finalists just last month, as lighting designers from all over the world entered to share their creations based on the theme “balance.” Now, these winners have finally been revealed… and we got an inside scoop from this year’s champs.

First Place, Established: “Mito” by Tom Fereday and Rakumba Lighting, Melbourne, Australia

WL: How did you approach the “Balance” theme for this year’s competition, and how did it inspire your piece?

Minimal in design, Mito juxtaposes precision manufacturing techniques with natural hand finished timbers and stones to create a truly sculptural light. The theme for this year’s competition resonated with the Mito light through it’s considered slender proportions and floating appearance of the light shades attempting to create an elegantly balanced piece.

What materials did you use to create this piece and how did you go about choosing them?

The Mito lighting series was designed to celebrate the natural beauty and character of raw materials. Minimal in design, Mito juxtaposes precision manufacturing techniques with natural hand finished timbers and stones to create a truly sculptural light. 

Is this piece different from other lighting projects you’ve made before? How so?

Honest in design, the Mito light reveals its entire modular structure representing the first modular LED lights we have developed. Warm indirect light flows across the domed forms crafted from natural materials to highlight the product. Modular in design, the Mito series may be configured at any angle and comes in a variety of both wall sconce and floor lamp configurations. The Mito light is contemporary in design, traditionally made.

What kind of spaces do you imagine this lighting piece to go into?

The Mito light is designed to work as sculptural light fitting with functional light output making it ideal for both residential and commercial environments. The Mito light is design with longevity in mind and would appeal to anyone wanting to invest in a sculptural light fitting made in Melbourne.

First Place, Emerging: “Highwire” by Anony Studio; Christian Lo and David Ryan (Toronto, ON, Canada)

How did you come up with this idea based on the “balance” theme?CL: David and I are kind of obsessed with just looking at those rope walkers and how they are able to do it. It’s basically like balancing a centre between two points. It was a combination of that and when we were onsite, we were always sort of looking at different projects. When people already had prebuilt homes, we realized that the junction box isn’t always centred to the dining table or however someone wants to redecorate the junction box. So we’re always thinking, how can we sort of work with existing construction environments, and how can we move, sort of swagger it over? (You know the junction box, it’s sort of the electrical outlet where you can hang the light in the centre of your dining table).What sort of materials did you use to create the piece? Was there a lot of trial and error involved with it? Yeah, I think we ended up doing four versions of the light. One of our biggest design objectives was to make a light that was completely able to be recyclable. So, all the parts that we use are not fused together. They’re sort of faceted together. Every part is sort of its own material–we’re not using any plastics or metal–and then everything just kind of clicks or screws together.So, is it easy to take apart then and put back together?Yeah so one of our big things is we always want to make sure if something ever happened to the light–a part is easily replaceable and done by the user as well, not just by us.What are you planning to do with this lighting design in the future?We would like to put it in manufacturing. Right now, we just have small batches locally here in Toronto. But yeah, we would love to extend the line. Right now it’s a pendant, but we would like to extend it–just extend the family of options but also finishes as well. It’s an anodized aluminum so we would like to sort of explore different anodized finishes.Does your company design lights specifically or are there other things that you design?We’ve designed all kinds of things, really! Like we’ve designed from tableware to sofas to furniture. Lately, we’ve kind of just been focussing on lighting. But we’re a product and lighting design house so we’ve done a whole bunch of different things.How is this design different from other lighting designs you’ve created?I would say for us, we really kind of pushed ourselves into creating something that can be very flexible and also have an abrupt wide range of uses. The technology we were using was kind of exciting for us because we wanted to create the disk as thin as possible but not create any hot spots on the light sources itself. And just have a very even, beautiful light–that was very hard to achieve for different iterations, of course.

First Place, Student: “Driftwood” by Nathan Siu (Mississauga, ON, Canada)

First of all, congratulations! That’s really exciting. Thank you, thank you. It is. I found out a few weeks ago but it kind of hasn’t sunk in yet I guess. I didn’t really expect it so it was a nice surprise.How did the “balance” theme inspire your piece?So in regards to the theme, I tried to look at it from both a literal as well as a more inspirational standpoint. For example, my design is magnetic-focussed that uses magnets in order to kind of play on the person’s mind as well as make a part of the piece that lets itself float. However, from the more inspirational standpoint–I took a lot of inspiration from nature because whenever I think of nature I think that it’s always balanced and something that’s always in a constant cycle. I tried to find the different scenes within nature that inspired me. So, the scene that I gathered the most inspiration from was looking at a piece of wood floating on the lake–that’s where I got the name for my lamp. The piece itself kind of emulates a piece of wood on a lake and the light that’s shining from the bottom of the lake that’s reflecting from the sun.You mentioned some materials already to create this “floating” light, but was there lots of trial and error involved? Yeah, so I took a bit of inspiration from current products that are existing within the market. For example, there’s some speakers on the market that use floating technology–so what I did was I basically looked at what technology was being utilized within those products and I tried to reverse engineer it as well as modify it so that it would be able to incorporate some sort of lighting aspect within it. Since I already knew how the concept would work in my mind, I basically took apart existing products, looked at how they worked and tried to make a product that most represented my vision of it. The materials themselves are just wood and concrete and I think that also lends itself to the theme of balance. So like what is a living material? Concrete is an abiotic material, so in that regards its also balance. But also in regards to the technical aspects–I did take a lot of inspiration from existing products and I tried to incorporate it in its own unique way.Have you always wanted to be a lighting designer?I am currently studying industrial design at Carlton University so I do product design. This is the first lamp that I’ve designed. I haven’t had much contact with lighting design before–I haven’t really experimented with it until this point. But, I can see myself doing more lighting design in the future. It has so many possibilities and there’s so many ways to play with lights, it’s just such an intangible sort of medium. So, it’s interesting to see how I can play with it or how you can play with light and different sorts of light.I just wanted the piece to be something that doesn’t really stand out too much, but it would be something that you could talk about. So, it’s kind of like a conversation starter. The lighting itself would be diffused lighting so it wouldn’t be harsh. It’d be something that just adds to the atmosphere of the room; something that just gives a warm feeling to the people that do see it.