With a form that evolved from a commission to design the feature lighting at New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant when it relocated in 2018 (accompanying interiors by São Paulo-based architect Isay Weinfield), Michael Anastassiades’ Coordinates lighting system for Flos is a both a lesson in mathematics and an exercise in delicate elegance. Consisting of horizontal and vertical strip lights that can combine to create illuminated, grid-like structures of varying complexity, the system adapts for different environments and scales.
‘When designing a light, I think it’s important to acknowledge that it can never be an isolated object but one that interacts with its environment,’ says Michael Anastassiades. Cyprus-born, he trained as a civil engineer at London’s Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine and then attended the Royal College of Art to study a master’s degree in industrial design.
Renowned for his distinctive, minimalist aesthetic, and clean geometries, he has a portfolio spanning furniture, glassware, bathroom hardware and accessories, but he specialises in lighting.
‘I believe that it is only after embracing all conditions that you can start designing. Light exists in so many beautiful dimensions in nature. I would consider myself lucky if I could capture just one of those moments.’ His design process always starts ‘from the glow’, he adds. ‘It is an important quality – its balance makes the entire experience become a form of meditation.’
Working on this project for Flos, the designer looked to mathematical precision. The collection – including four suspended chandeliers; three ceiling-mounted luminaires; a modular version, where units can be combined to create custom, installation-style arrangements; a vertical floorlamp; and two wall lights – takes its formal inspiration from the Cartesian grid.
Named after French mathematician René Descartes, Cartesian grids comprise squares or cubes, which are aligned with coordinate axes and used to pinpoint exact locations on a map or graph.
For Anastassiades and Flos, this precise and learned geometry was offset with contemporary technology and state-of-the-art processes. Each design, featuring integrated LEDs, is made from extruded aluminium, treated with an anodised champagne finish, while diffusers are in platinum optical silicone. What the eye doesn’t see is key; electromechanical connectors within the rods allow them to be joined seamlessly, creating compelling compositions. For ceiling models, the power supply is discreetly hidden beneath a ceiling rose, while all models are dimmable using digital and analogue controls.
In Coordinates, precision meets panache, formal rigour meets endless flexibility. Descartes himself couldn’t have asked for a more illuminating geometry lesson.