Michael Bennett's collaboration with Gantri is a contemporary take on African heritage

Michael Bennett, former NFL star and founder of Studio Kër, collaborates with Gantri to showcase the ‘Ursa Minor Table Light’ which nods to his ancestry and African architecture and design

Michael Bennett
(Image credit: Courtesy of Studio Kër and Gantri)

‘African heritage is full of amazing art and tradition that I wanted to explore and celebrate with others,’ said former NFL star and Studio Kër founder Michael Bennett, on the inspiration behind his latest collaboration with lighting and digital manufacturing studio Gantri. ‘I got glimpses of it from my grandmother while growing up in Louisiana, and ever since, I’ve been drawn to designs that capture the spirit and strength of those who came before me. Furniture is deeply narrative for me—it's where the stories of my ancestors and my own come together in a tangible way. I love how a piece of furniture can do such a good job of telling stories that are both personal and universal.’

Michael Bennett and Gantri illuminate with latest collaboration

Studio Kër and Gantri lamp design with asymmetric shade and cylindrical base

(Image credit: Courtesy of Studio Kër and Gantri)

Gantri and Studio Kër introduce the ‘Ursa Minor Table Light’. Drawing inspiration from Bennet's own ancestral ties to Senegal, the table reflects the Little Dipper constellation which contains the North Star, a guiding light for the many slaves who escaped the South, as well as countless others throughout history. A symbol of freedom and unity. 

Studio Kër and Gantri lamp design with asymmetric shade and cylindrical base

(Image credit: Courtesy of Studio Kër and Gantri)

‘It's always been more than just a constellation to me—it's a path through darkness, a gathering point and sign of hope,’ says Bennett. ‘This light was made to be an extension of that. It's meant to spark conversation and deepen our connection to each other. It's inspired by nights under the stars, filled with stories that bridge cultures and generations.’

Studio Kër and Gantri lamp design with asymmetric shade and cylindrical base

(Image credit: Courtesy of Studio Kër and Gantri)

The design is a contemporary take on African heritage. Gantri, intertwined a warming light into the design, paying homage to togetherness and belonging. Expressing Bennet’s vision, the Ursa Minor comes in three colourways (Carbon, Sedona, and Sand), and sports an asymmetric shade with earthy tones that reflect African architecture.

Studio Kër and Gantri lamp design with asymmetric shade and cylindrical base

(Image credit: Courtesy of Studio Kër and Gantri)

The former Super Bowl champion opened his design practice Studio Kër in 2020, with a guiding principle to create objects that deliver connection, relaxation and belonging. Earlier this year the Super Bowl star-turned-designer released his debut series of sculptural furniture, which referenced Black history and African diasporic design.

Working with the designer, Gantri CEO Ian Yang says: ‘Michael's vision brings a unique narrative to design, one that is deeply rooted in heritage yet speaks to contemporary lifestyles. This launch reinforces Gantri's commitment to supporting designs that tell a story, resonate with people, and enhance the way we live.’

The ‘Ursa Minor Table Light’ is available exclusively through Gantri.com and retails for $398

Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, Ford UK, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.