From October 2022, German lighting manufacturer Tobias Grau relaunches as Grau, marking the handing over of the company to the second generation, brothers Timon and Melchior Grau. Now serving as CEOs, the pair have backgrounds in economics and fine art, and are inspiring a transformation of the company that introduces a new approach to lighting, collaboration and communication.
‘Our goal is to use light to activate what makes us human,’ say the brothers as they announce their new direction for the brand. ‘Our ability to feel, to think, to imagine, to question and to change something again: that’s what makes us human.’
The new brand mission, ‘Activate what makes us human’, reveals a fresh path that focuses on emotive, intimate lighting with special attention to technology and smart processes. As well as lighting products, the company is increasingly collaborating with art institutions and festivals on artistic installations, part of performances and exhibitions, adding new meaning to its lighting work (something the brothers had been developing since they joined the company in 2016).
In 2022, the brand was part of the Bergen Assembly with a large-scale lighting installation that replicated the warmth of a bonfire. 'With the sculpture Bonfire, [we are] interested in how design can shape behaviours and perceptions. Visitors [were] encouraged to use it as a social gathering point and a place for contemplation,' a note read. The installation replicated a bonfire within a cave through a series of mouth-blown glass bulbs, programmed to illuminate with a soft flicker in warm colours and vibrant movements.
‘We work with light in different contexts, but the source and motivation are the same,’ they say. ‘We are equally fascinated by an expressive exhibition in a museum, a living sculpture for the home, or the light in your workplace where you spend most of your life.’
Grau’s launch unveils two new products: ‘Team Color Tune’ and an update of the brand’s ‘Falling’ ceiling lamp. The timelessly designed pendant is now available in a new shade dubbed Sun Orange, and has been redeveloped to deliver warmer, smoother light, featuring Ultra Warm Dim technology to replicate the colour of sunset.
Meanwhile, the company’s workspace collection, ‘Team’, has been reinvented with Colour Tune technology, allowing complete flexibility in light intensity and colour to enhance wellbeing.
‘We want to use our small but important impact in the world to make a meaningful contribution to society,’ say the brothers. ‘Our values and attitude towards work are definitely motivated by our practice and experience as artists. So we will work and lead the organisation with the widest possible horizons, a sensory approach, and an orientation towards people.’
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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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