Brazilian designers frequently use indigenous materials to give their creations a unique edge, but few have ventured beyond the country’s range of distinctive woods. For her latest lighting collection, 'Sintonia Fina', designer Claudia Moreira Salles experimented with niobium, a lustrous grey rare metal, native to Brazil, which she manipulated at different temperatures to produce a range of vibrant colours.
‘Except for a few pieces of jewellery, I‘ve never seen objects made with this metal,’ she says. ‘Using a controlled electrolysis process, niobium can achieve a spectrum of colours without the use of any pigment, and it produces an outcome that is different to anodised aluminium or any other stained or painted metal. I was captivated by the iridescence and surprising colours the process achieved.’
Moreira Salles formed sheets of niobium into semi-spherical lampshades, which, once coloured, were then juxtaposed with reclaimed wooden bases and components in a delicate balance of volume and weight. The limited-edition lighting will be presented this month alongside Moreira Salles’ new furniture collection at design gallery Espasso’s New York space.