Tord Boontje wanted to make the home "softer and more humane" with 2004 Midsummer Light
Most Loved: in the next movie in our exclusive video series, London designer Tord Boontje explains how the decorative paper lampshade he designed in 2004 challenged the dominance of Minimalist design.
Boontje's Midsummer light, which he designed for Los Angeles design company Artecnica in 2004, consists of two sheets of Tyvek – a tear-proof synthetic paper material – stamped with a delicate floral pattern.
The two sheets are draped around a simple plastic cone to create a perforated lampshade that casts a soft, dappled light.
"Midsummer Light is directly inspired by lying under a tree and seeing the sunlight going through the leaves," Boontje says in the movie, which Dezeen filmed at his studio in London.
Boontje is one of a number of designers who has led a move away from Minimal design to return to more decorative themes over the last 20 years.
He reveals that his interest in decoration started when his daughter was born in 2000.
"I had a very strong desire to make my own home like a nest, like a very loving environment," he explains. "I wanted to make the home softer, warmer and more humane."
Boontje says that the design of Midsummer Light was a reaction against the dominance of Minimalism at the time, which he believes has decreased in the years since the light was launched.
"Minimalism was very domineering in design," he says. "But I think now the world has got many more voices, many more attitudes to what an environment can be."
Midsummer Light was originally produced in white Tyvek, but a number of different coloured options including red, green and blue have also been manufactured over the years. The light comes flat-packed as two separate sheets, which the owner drapes around a light bulb and fastens with a small transparent sticker.
"We designed the light in paper, but when it came to production we decided to use Tyvek, which is pretty much the same as paper but it is completely tear-proof," Boontje says. "It is made by die cutting, a very fast, very industrial process and therefore we're also able to make the light for a very affordable price."
Midsummer Light retails for just £70. Around 200,000 have been sold around the world since it was launched in 2004.
"Shortly after the launch of this light it became apparent how universal the appeal was," Boontje says. "Both young and old, men and women, different cultures, they all seem to understand the light."
This movie was filmed by Dezeen in London. All photography is by Dezeen.
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Most Loved is a collaboration between Dezeen and car brand MINI celebrating design objects that have found a special place in people's hearts. Over the coming months, we will be interviewing some of the world's leading designers about their most popular and enduring designs.
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