Omer Arbel has recently caught lightning bolts: the Canadian designer has spears shot into the sky on a long cable during a thunderstorm.

If lightning actually strikes the bait, electrical energy flows through the cable to earth.

In a prepared container there is a mixture of mineral and metallic powders that are melted into bizarre structures by lightning.

“The lightning leaves its signature,” says Arbel.

What sounds a bit like the experiment of a cranky professor is typical for the architect and co-founder of the Bocci lighting brand from Vancouver.

Omer Arbel harnesses the forces of nature to design objects and lights made of glass, metal or wax.

As is the case with the new “100” pendant luminaire collection that Bocci is presenting at the Salone del Mobile 2021 in Milan.

In order to produce the lamp bodies, several glassmakers in the company's workshop simultaneously pick up a glass bubble with their pipe and hit them against each other.

The glowing hot bubbles merge into an irregular cluster: a unique piece that looks a little different every time.

When they have cooled down, the clusters are cut open, sandblasted and fitted with LED light sources.

“I design the process, not the form,” says Omer Arbel of his method.

He and his team try out certain manufacturing processes and materials until the result is convincing.

And that can take a long time: With the new pendant luminaire, a whole twelve years from the first idea to the finished product.

What distinguishes Arbel's work from many other experimental, process-based approaches in the design industry: With Bocci, he has succeeded in building an internationally successful company and producing unique luminaires in large numbers - without the individual pieces losing the charm of the handmade.

And for that he even fetches lightning bolts from the sky.

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