Success of Coppélia Chandelier is "a dream come true" says Arihiro Miyake
Arihiro Miyake explains how his Coppélia Chandelier helped make his name as a designer in this Dezeen movie, which is part of our Design Dreams series with Dutch design brand Moooi.
Japanese designer Miyake received international recognition with the launch of his Coppélia Chandelier for Moooi in 2015.
Due to the popularity of the design, Moooi launched a new black version at its Milan 2018 show in April.
"I have travelled many places with the lamp, like New York, Tokyo and London," Miyake says in the video, which Dezeen filmed for Moooi in Milan and London.
"It has been quite a big success and I feel like one of my dreams has come true."
The light is a reinterpretation of a traditional chandelier made from steel wire and dozens of LEDs.
Each of the LEDs on the lamp is powered through the steel frame, without any additional wires. The complex spoke-like structure of the light ensures that the different parts of the frame carrying the positive and negative currents never touch, only coming together at each LED light source.
"The design is very much about the structure," Miyake says.
"The body itself is transmitting the electricity. In fact, the lamp can be divided into two pieces, one side is positive and the other side is negative. Two wires, positive and negative always have to connect to each LED."
Born in Kobe, Japan, in 1975, Miyake is a furniture and lighting designer based in Helsinki and Milan.
The designer traces his ambition to be a designer back to his school days in Japan. He was not a particularly good student, he says, but always had a talent for drawing and making things.
One day, while on a school exchange programme in Australia, he was introduced to the subject of industrial design and immediately felt an attraction towards it.
"When I was a kid, I was not really interested in studying," he explains.
"I enjoyed art and I was good at it. I liked making things. I found the subject of product design and I thought: 'This could be my job for life.'"
Miyake studied industrial design at Kobe Design University and then – attracted by the European design he saw in magazines – moved to the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland, to do his Masters degree.
Taking a part-time job at the university while he studied, Miyake invested all his money in developing prototypes of his own products. Each year he presented them at SaloneSatellite in Milan, part of the annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair dedicated to the work of young designers.
In 2009, Moooi co-founders Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers visited his stand and took interest in a small desk light called Carat, which can be repositioned at various angles by turning the weighted polyhedron base. Moooi put the lamp into production and launched it as Miyake Lamp the following year.
"I saved as much money as possible to invest in my own prototypes and I brought them to the exhibition in Milan," Miyake recalls.
"Marcel and Casper, the founders of Moooi, stopped and they were interested in my lamp. Moooi decided to put it in production and they named it after me."
The lamp, which is now out of production, was not a major seller for Moooi. But, having established a relationship with the brand, Miyake regularly sent Wanders and Vissers his ideas for new products, which he usually worked on at night with a sketch pad and a glass of wine.
"After the Miyake Lamp, Moooi were of course expecting more ideas from me," he says.
"So I was constantly making sketches. Once in a while, there’s a kind of moment where a few things connect and usually that becomes one of my designs."
Miyake has presented the Coppélia Chandelier around the world, including at this talk filmed in London by Dezeen
Coppélia Chandelier is the result of one such moment. Miyake named it after the famous Coppélia ballet, because the form reminded him of a pirouetting ballerina.
Miyake has presented the light around the world, including at a talk Dezeen livestreamed from Moooi's London showroom during London Design Festival last year.
This movie was filmed by Dezeen for Moooi in Milan and London. It is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dezeen and Moooi called Design Dreams exploring how successful designers turned their dreams into reality.