Geometry with a magical touch: Interview with Jeffrey Huyghe
Spheres, cylinders, clean lines. Light as first product love. A love that will always remain. How’s that for passion? We had the pleasure of taking a peek inside the mind of the award-winning designer of Marbul and Semih, Jeffrey Huyghe. Discover how passion lights up.
What details do you find the most important to focus on, for design?
I really love geometrical shapes, they’re not complicated, everyone understands them. They’re timeless and fit in every interior. I like to add a personal touch by keeping a pure form and adding playfulness, something unexpected. In Marbul, a simple sphere holds a surprising rotation system inside. In Semih, a simple cylinder becomes dynamic, unveiling two identical parts that fit perfectly into each other as they open up. Making it look simple and hiding the complexity. That’s the magic touch. You look at it and wonder, how is that possible?
The attention to detail is very extreme at M, how is that reflected in Semih?
Keeping a very thin gap in Semih was important in making a smooth transition from a closed position to an open one. Not having any visible screws, wires, lamp springs, that’s always a must. Even the way it’s mounted on the ceiling, nothing must be visible. That’s thanks to the strong magnetic plates. It’s all part of a clean design.
And how do you see this in Marbul?
In the suspended version, it was really important to hide the rotation mechanism. To make it look simple but beautiful. In the surface-mounted version, I didn’t want the volume for the driver to be too present. The curve of the gear housing follows that of the spheres. The subtle slope gives it a hovering effect. The magnetic plate is also slightly curved inwards. By removing volumes where I could, I made the product look lighter. The magnetic reflectors, you can simply click them in. The light source is recessed to avoid glare. And we’re still trying to find better ways.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It’s a state of mind really. Mostly when I’m in my car, the shower, in bed. I always keep a little book to take notes, otherwise I forget them before the morning arrives. Sometimes when I’m in a period when I draw a lot, I experiment more, try out shapes and how they can be used. Like for Semih, I was curious about how to cut a cylinder in two identical parts, while keeping it beautiful and simple.
In what sort of space did you imagine your designs when you were making them?
My comfort zone is residential, so naturally I was imaging living spaces. But in the end, a design has to fit the project. A luminaire can fit in several environments. Designers love to experiment and that’s part of the playfulness of modularity. Seeing how others interpret your design, how they visualize it, fitting it in different spaces.
What is the most limiting aspect of designing a luminaire?
Fitting everything in the size you imagine for your design. You have something specific in mind, a render you make, and that’s the exact design you want to end up with. Fitting all the electronics, rotation system inside. Getting that edge as clean as you want it. You want to be creative, but it needs to be a design people will understand.
Both designs have won Good Design awards. Why do you think that is?
The eye for detail, the simplicity of the shape, and the complexity of the mechanism hidden inside. The surprising rotation capabilities and the visual effect they create, in both luminaires. The powder finish, the high-end technology. That all aspects are combined in a minimalistic, elegant and versatile design, people really like that.
How would you describe your love of light?
It was my first love in product design. And really, lighting will always hold that special place. I studied industrial design, not particularly aiming at lighting. As I started working at Modular, it grew on me. Being surrounded by other people who love light, you find yourself always trying to create better, more appealing designs and to grow as a designer.
Any plans on the Marbul horizon?
Yes actually, a really exciting one that’s been brewing for a while. It’s important to give designers a lot of playful options with one design, to give them room to create their own lighting expression. Modularity is always a top priority. I can’t say much more, but the next one will be big!
PS. If you like details, take a look at the back of the driver box in our recessed version of Marbul. It’ll make you smile.
Marbul and Semih are now available in the US and Canada. Are you already visualizing your next project with an elegant sphere or a clean cylinder with a clever twist? Just contact us and we’ll get started.