Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate early morning sunlight
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Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate the early morning sunlight

Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate early morning sunlight

Chinese studio Neri&Hu has used frosted, blown glass to create a series of lamps for Italian brand Poltrona Frau, designed to recreate the softness of early morning sunlight.

The Xi lights take their name from the Chinese word meaning "light of dawn" – a specific time in the morning when the sun is just about to rise.

Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate the early morning sunlight

According to partners Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, when the Xi lamps are illuminated, their soft, full light evokes the early morning sunlight.

"If you look the word Xi up in the dictionary it's very specific, it's 5:30 to 6:30 in the morning. It's that time period when the sky has a special light," Hu told Dezeen.

"Our interest in this light of dawn was not for utilitarian reasons, as it's not the brightest, so you don't see much. Yet there's something about it, something that’s not so tangible," Neri added.  "It's just like a sunset – it sort of marks a beginning and an end, while also being cyclical."

Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate the early morning sunlight

Consisting of two hanging lamps and a table lamp, the Xi collection combines traditional eastern design with Poltrona Frau's signature Italian leather and Venetian blown glass.

"We thought about the fusion of light and leather because when you think of Poltrona Frau, you think of its excellent leather," said Hu.

"We wanted to think deeply about what the brand represents, and how we can actually offer something meaningful to them through our design," she continued.

Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate the early morning sunlight

Each piece incorporates two different types of blown glass – the upper glass part has an evenly ridged surface and is transparent, but coloured with shades of amber, emerald, sapphire or moonstone.

The lower part of the glass is etched with a pearl finish for a translucent, frosted effect, to achieve a "warm and diffused" light. The light is also adjustable via a dimmer system.

Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate the early morning sunlight

Strips of saddle-leather are wrapped around the body of the light. In the hanging version, the leather band acts as a support, enabling the light to hang "like a trapezoid or a delicate lantern" from the suspended horizontal bar.

On the table version, the leather band acts as both a support and a handle, anchoring it to its metal base with a natural brass finish.

The hanging lamps are placed on a suspended horizontal bar, which can be adjusted in height. The lights can be moved across the bar to different positions.

Neri&Hu's Xi lamps are designed to emulate the early morning sunlight

"One could ask, is it really the leather that holds all this amalgamation of materials together, or is it the light that holds it together?" said Neri. "Without the light, it looks rather complex and chaotic, and we are notorious as a practice for liking simple things."

"But when the light comes on, in many ways it dissipates this complexity, and it controls everything – the light becomes that one source that ties everything together," he added.

Neri&Hu's Xi collection was unveiled at this year's Salone del Mobile furniture fair, which took place during Milan design week from 17 to 22 April 2018.

The annual fair also saw Japanese brand Maruni launch two "comfortable" wooden chairs by designers Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison.