Whilst searching the internet for references to LIGHT, INSTALLATION & WALES, I came across a local artist called Simon Fenoulhet. His work resonated strongly with what I was trying to convey to my group; a raw and fascinating journey into the manipulation of light and it’s juxtaposition within a specific environment.

‘SIMON FENOULHET is an artist who plays with our preconceptions of the material world by skilfully manipulating everyday objects with unexpected outcomes. The recurrent theme is one of transformation, re-presenting the familiar in ways which cause us to change the way we look at the world. In recent years, his use of light has added another dimension to the work. By making light an integral part of each piece, discarded toys, bricks and teaspoons take on new meanings, subverting their original function’ Artist statement taken directly from the website

I e-mailed him on Tuesday, and to my surprise he e-mailed back within the hour. We arranged to meet at The Chapter Arts Centre on Thursday 18th @ 14:00pm.

I began by discussing the outline of the brief and what work would be undertaken by the two disciplines of TEXTILE DESIGN & PRODUCT DESIGN. I thought it prudent to showcase my exploratory studies and surface pattern/concept ideas, of which Simon was happy to interject with his own experiences and know how. I informed him of my favourite of his designs and we began to consider the relevant aspects of his concepts that would aid the concept idea all the way through to the finished design.

‘Curtain – is a nine metre long suspended artwork that is made from 448 electro-luminescent wires, threaded with coloured drinking straws to create a colourful fabric of glowing threads. The wires glow with a varying brightness as patterns of light and dark move along the length of the work, giving the appearance of movement. The wires are controlled by pixel mapping software that transfers light values from video footage onto the work to create the sense of light and shade that moves across the curtain’ Statement taken directly from the website

The lighting source is ELECTRO LUMINESCENT WIRE and I asked Simon if this would emit sufficient light to illuminate the surface pattern on the 3-D Floor Standing Prism; the simple answer was yes, but he informed me of it’s short lifespan (1-2 years) which would be completely inappropriate for an installation art light source such as the one I was trying to create.

DISCO CHAIR – KIWI & POM (Created for WALLPAPER Magazine). Completely unergonomic, but fantastic as an installation art piece. Thinking that our final design will stay true to this principle.

Looking at the type of light to emit the right type of white light, Simon told me that LED’s would make a fantastic choice for the type of light emitted. If the design of the light was a considered object/statement piece then the type of light used would have to be fit for purpose, and easily interchangeable if the buyer was spending a lot of money on the piece itself.

LED’s come on/in a strip and can easily be cut to a bespoke shape and size depending on individual needs. JnDee was a company he highly recommended, and mentioned that he had done business with them on numerous occasions. This got me thinking about the actual light source itself; would we have to have an LED panel sunk into the base of the light, or could we have a triangular ‘pillar’ running down the centre of the larger triangular outer case? Could these LED strips be angled in such a way that would allow the directional light to flood the 3 acrylic panes? The light would emirate from the centre, rather than the floor.

How would I apply the surface pattern to the acrylic? Would I glue it on, or would that cause unsightly marks on/within the light. I thin the best solution would be encapsulating the surface pattern design between 2 sheet of acrylic:

The base and top of the light will ideally be finished off with a moulded sheet of brushed stainless steel; shape will be as above and moulded and welded to house the prism structure of acrylic. This is something I will discuss with Jack, Jamie and Morgan.

Simon showed me some of his previous installations in his onsite workshop @ Chapter Arts Centre. This piece was made from a combination of DIFFUSED ACRYLIC, PAINTED MDF, LED STRIP WITH ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS AND TRANSFORMER/DIMMABLE SWITCH. The surface pattern is created with hundreds of cocktail sticks, some coloured plastic and others wooden (shows up as black to allow contrast of coloured plastic).

The time spent with Simon today was invaluable, and I now feel I can contribute in a greater capacity in the Product Decide aspect. Watch this space.

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