A vibrant Flame for the outdoors: interview to Sebastian Bergne (+ video)

At London Design Festival (September 13th-21st,2014) he could not benefit as he would have like of the great opportunity for  confrontation, ideas flow and meeting point in order to reinforce old collaborations and to start new ones. He could not be there because of his many work appointments. But Flame, the lamp designed for Serralunga's 2014 new collections, was absolutely there. It was the protagonist of "Space & Light" exhibition, together with other author pieces carefully chosen for the strength of the creative and functional language, symbol par excellence of world design. 


He is, obviously,  Sebastian Bergne: the English designer curiously known for his height (2 meters), but better known for his versatile and visionary style, specialized in product and furniture design. 


Through a lovely chat, he helped us understand in depth how an outdoor lamp that deserves an honorary place at a prestigious and innovative international fair, which is London Design Festival, is born, that also goes along perfectly with spaces and environments that are full of history, art and culture. Which is the anatomy of a furnishing piece that magically blend archetypal atmospheres (flame, fire, primordial connection between light and fire) with the game and the recreational dimension (comics, animation). 


1) London Design Festival & Fame lamp on display at "Space and Light": tell us about the dialogue you wanted to create between space (Sir John Soane Museum) and light (Flame).

The sir John Soane museum is a very special place created in the late 18th century. it contains an eclectic mix of classical sculptural casts, models and paintings from different historic periods and he was one of the first architects to control and channel natural light to give atmosphere to spaces. I feel that Flame sits well in the museum as on the one hand it has the monumental quality of a timeless white statue and at the same time emits an even soft light throughout the space in a similar way to a real fire. 


2) On an emotional level, which characteristics of fire did you want to include in this lamp?

With Flame I have tried to include the sense of glowing light and symbolic presence. The colour can be controlled either on the LED version of simply by the type of bulb used in the other versions. Hopefully it will become a focal point in the exterior or interior in which it is used.


3) Comic strips and cartoons: how have they inspired you? What was the idea behind Flame and how did it begin?

I'm very interested in how images of certain things become caricatured, generic or eventually symbolic. When trying to create a solid representation of fire, something ephemeral and intangible I wanted to make reference to our learned experience of how something has been represented in mass culture in order to communicate the meaning of the object I was creating.


5) Flame inserts itself into the "sculptural" current of Serralunga's proposals for outdoors 2014: according to you, what role does the light play on outdoor furniture?


To be honest I personally prefer furniture that is not illuminated in itself as the sensation of sitting on an illuminated seat makes me feel uncomfortable. However, outdoor environments need to be illuminated in a way that feels natural in discrete so sometimes larger or sculptural objects can do this more effectively if then a traditional lamp.


6) Some architects and designers design environments in which the light not only is a fundamental aspect of the work, but also it is able to transform it changing its aspects in the eyes of observers. Richard Meier asserts that "the interesting thing about light is that, as much as you think you know it, it always surprises you, it takes on some unpredictable and non precedable aspects. And I think that the biggest surprise is to see the tricks that the light creates inside the shapes in ways you couldn't even imagine were possible". What do you think about it?

Light certainly has the power to transform any environment from one mood to another. Controlling these moods with the right use of a combination of light sources is the sign of a great interior designer or architect. 


7) To conclude: the ideal outdoor environment in which you imagine Flame? ... In three lines.

I imagine Flame each side of the entrance to a beautiful garden, on the beach at night or lighting the path through a forest.


Thank you Sebastian! 

.... And for the curiours ones, the storytelling by Sebastian Bergne: the protagonists are Flame and pouff Oasis!