Apr 10, 2015

Bocci Sheds New Light on Vancouver's Public Art Scene

By Jasmine Vaughn

Bocci, the Vancouver-based, internationally renowned lighting design and manufacturing company, was recently commissioned to create a light sculpture at the entrance of the Fairmont Pacific Rim by local real estate development firm Westbank. GRAY was thrilled to attend the unveiling last month and be among the first to witness Bocci’s first permanent public art installation.

Image Courtesy of Gwenael Lewis.
The installation, Bocci 16.480, is a tree-like structure comprised of 480 individual Bocci 16 lights. The ‘trees,’ set in burnt wood plank platforms, form a metal forest of sorts, transforming what was once a nondescript plot of asphalt into an illuminated social space for both hotel guests and local design enthusiasts.

Image Courtesy of Gwenael Lewis.
Bocci’s 16 was conceived by Omar Arbel, Bocci’s Creative Director, but was a dream left unrealized for many years, until the correct technical and glass expertise became available. "I have imagined what 16 would look like for almost a decade," said Arbel. "It is wonderful to now see it coming to life and prominently placed in Vancouver.”

In order to produce each individual light, the glass must be poured horizontally in two layered molten glass molds, and then connected with an internal LED lamp. The lamps are then attached to a combination of branch and knuckle components that can be combined in limitless configurations.

Image Courtesy of Gwenael Lewis.
After the unveiling of the 16.480, and the fete that followed, we went on a tour of the Bocci studio, housed in what once was the Mitchell Press building in the Armory District. This building brims with creative capital, housing not only Bocci, but also Arbel’s design firm OAO, high-end furniture retailer Livingspace, and the Emily Carr Masters degree program. Here you see how Arbel simultaneously reinvented the exterior structure while retaining the original building’s character. Arbel artfully cantilevered a gem-like stairwell with multi-faceted walls over the entrance to Livingspace, and also created an equally impressive entrance, in the form of a custom door made from randomly laminated strips of Doug Fir and Lexan.

An interior view of the door shows how it captures natural light, while manmade light is emitted from two separate groupings of Bocci 14 pendants. We love the building directory, a nod to Bocci’s signature product numbering system (think 16.480), and the presence of Bench 25 in the foyer, an Omar Arbel for Bocci original.

Jasmine Vaughn is a an interior designer and writer livening in Portland. Her blog, Made & State, focuses on well-crafted, American-made goods. She also serves as a contributing editor at GRAY. 

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